40 gig, The Saga Continues (Read: It’s Happening)

As if things couldn’t get any more concrete at this point, UPC codes for the 40 gigabyte SKU have been popping up on the web today. First, engadget was tipped off to an entry in Best Buy’s system:

best-buy-ps3-440.jpg

If the watermark wasn’t enough, image courtesy of engadget.

And now, it’s even popped up on the internet UPC Database. From what can be gathered, it looks like the new SKU will be “in stock” around the 28th of this month, which is right around the time that Ratchet and Clank Future is going to hit shelves. Now, whether or not that means that stores will be able to sell the bundle (which comes with a Spider-Man 3 Blu-Ray packed in) on that date is unclear.

Of course, the most important part of all is a confirmation of the price: $399.99. Smart move Sony, you’re now in more or less direct competition range with the 360 and offer a better overall product to boot. No doubt the Wii is still going to sell scores more than anyone else and software is still a little shaky, but it’s an important step in moving forward. As for the Xbox, some armchair analysts seem to think we’ll see another drop from Microsoft to remain competitive. I’m not so sure, as I don’t think they need a price break quite as much as Sony does, especially since each company has already done it once this year. Not to mention, the 360’s newly-minted extended warranty to replace defective hardware is already going to cost Microsoft a lot of dough. Could they really afford to drop it again? Hell, even Sony has continued PS2/PSP sales to prop up flagging next-gen revenue from their gaming sector.

This hasn’t stopped the unsubstantiated rumors (more like wishful thinking at this point) that they could drop the 360 premium to $299, though. As much as I’d love to see that happen for the industry as a whole (it comes exceedingly close to robbing the Wii of some of its market share at that price point), it just doesn’t seem financially sound.

With 60 gigabyte PS3 stock dwindling, this ultimately means that Sony will be going into the holidays with a loaded double-barrel shotgun: 40 gig SKU for affordability and 80 gig for prestige. Assuming that the 40 isn’t missing any particular features, it’s the best deal by far. Should it succeed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the other SKU wither away like the 20 and 60 before it. After all, why bother if the only advantage is twice the amount of HD space and you can upgrade to an even higher capacity drive any time you want?

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~ by Cavin Smith on October 2, 2007.

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