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$499 PS3 Being Phased Out

Last week's rumor is this week's confirmed news: the 60GB PS3, which recently saw a $100 price drop, is being phased out for the 80GB model at $599. Although the door is certainly open to a later price drop on the 80GB model, the $499 price of the 60GB PS3 officially remains only until that model sells out. But don't worry- that won't be for a while.

Estimates are that Sony won't be sold out of the 60GB model for months after the 80GB model debuts in August- according to a Reuters article there are still two to three million 60GB PS3s waiting for a new home. The PS3's worldwide unit sales are now estimated to be around 3.7 million units. So, these two to three million units should be in stores for some time.

Sony had won praise on both sides of the fence for the $100 price drop, making the PS3 more attractive to gamers and early Blu-ray adopters alike. On the gaming front, the $499 price brought the PS3 a little closer to both the Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii, while also matching the price of the Sony BDP-S300, the least expensive standalone BD player on the market.

It's already been reported that the price drop is having the desired effect of spurring PS3 sales. It would be shocking if, whether the 60GB sells out or not, Sony didn't also drop the price of the 80GB model in time for the holidays. In fact, Reuters quoted an industry analyst who believes that the 80GB model could be prices as low as $399 by early next year.

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