Sony puts eggs in 40GB version of PS3


TOKYO -- Sony announced Thursday that it will end shipments to the Japanese market of the 20GB and 60GB versions of its struggling PlayStation 3 console this month.

This will leave only the 40GB HDD model on the market as it tries to gain ground against rival Nintendo, which comprehensively outsold it through most of 2007.

The PlayStation 3 sold 1.2 million units last year in Japan compared with 3.6 million for Nintendo's Wii, according to figures released this week by publishing and research firm Enterbrain. On the portable console side, Sony fared slightly better, selling 3 million PlayStation Portables to 7.1 million Nintendo DS Lites.

"The 20GB model has already been taken off the market in the U.S. and the 60GB will follow it once current stocks have run out. In Europe there's also an 80GB model available but worldwide the plan is to focus on the 40GB model," Sony spokesperson Nanako Sato said.

Unlike the 20GB and 60GB models, the 40GB PlayStation 3 does not feature full backwards compatibility, meaning that many games for the hugely successful PlayStation 2 will not work on the newer console. Sony is trying to shift emphasis to the PlayStation 3, which continues to be frequently outsold by its older cousin.

"We are really trying to focus on the PlayStation 3 now and move away from the PlayStation 2, otherwise there's no point in releasing a new console," Sato said.