60GB PS3s no Longer in Sony Inventory

Sony’s 60GB PS3 has come a long way since its introduction nearly a year ago. When the console went on sale in mid-November, it was lambasted for its $599 price tag. The console then suffered a loss in April when its fraternal twin, the 20GB PS3, was killed off by Sony.

Early last month, Sony gave the 60GB PS3 a $100 price cut to help boost sales and introduced a new 80GB SKU to occupy the $599 price point. Sony also threw in a copy of MotorStorm with the 80GB PS3 to keep gamers happy.

The price cut did the trick and sales boomed for the PS3. Sony went from 98,000 units sold in June to 159,000 units sold in July.

It now appear that the end of the road is nigh for the 60GB PS3. Sony reports that it no longer has inventory of 60GB PS3s in its warehouses and the only units left are those on the way to retailers (or those that are already in retailer warehouses and on store shelves).

“We no longer have any inventory in SCEA warehouses. All inventory has been purchased and shipped to retailers,” said SCEA communications officer Dave Karraker. “We don’t have visibility as to if that is on their store shelves or in their warehouses at this time. However, based on inventory reports from our retailers, there is ample supply still left in the channel.”

Once the remaining stocks of 60GB PS3s are depleted, that will leave the $599 80GB PS3 as the sole SKU. What Sony does at that point is still up for debate.

Sony could leave the price tag at $599 and risk stalling the sales gains that it has made in the past two months. On the other hand, many analysts are predicting that the 80GB model will take the price point of the discontinued 60GB model to help drive sales. An 80GB PS3 with a free game for $499 could be quite the bargain for many gamers out there.

While the  80GB PS3 would still be down 40GB and $50 more expensive compared to the Xbox 360 Elite, the included MotorStorm title, WiFi and Blu-ray drive may push the tide back into Sony’s court — at least in the high-end market. The deal could be even sweeter when you consider that Sony is still running its five free Blu-ray movie promotion through September 30 for the PS3.

We will just have to wait to see which path Sony decides to take with the 80GB PS3. “We won’t be making any further announcements regarding our PS3 model hardware strategy in North America until the 60GB model is exhausted and market conditions are evaluated,” said a Sony representative.