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LONG BLOG

The 80 GB PS3 is no more...

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The demise of the 80 GB PlayStation 3 has been reported on before, most notably by c-bloggers/matlockers liqideos and Y0j1mb0. But I’m here to give you proof besides “scans” of “emails” and so-called “insider information”. Nothing official, of course — Sony hasn’t commented on any of these rumors — but it’s pretty solid evidence in my book. Listen closely, and you shall hear...a tale of woe like few others this year...

I’ve been successful in getting a few of my friends IRL to read Destructoid, and one of them is MasterMS (that’s a link to his profile because he’s never blogged, but you still might recognize his Big Boss avatar). MasterMS is a fellow PS3 owner — in fact, we both stood outside Best Buy for four hours in the cold on December 31, 2006, to get 60 GB PS3s. Even though he takes good care of his stuff, he isn’t the luckiest person in the world when it comes to the console’s reliability. My friend’s original PS3 was bricked by the v1.92 software update, which came out on September 4, 2007. By “bricked”, I mean that it stopped reading Blu-ray Discs and DVDs — and any games on those media. Since it was still under Sony’s one-year warranty, they sent him a coffin, and shipped out his replacement unit on September 19th.

That replacement 60 GB unit worked just fine until Super Bowl Sunday, when it stopped reading PS3 games. It still reads DVDs and PS2 games, just not Blu-ray games (he couldn’t try it with any Blu-ray movies because he doesn’t own any). At this point, my friend was understandably aggravated. Upon calling Sony, he was told that the one-year warranty period on PS3s purchased in 2006 had been extended to February 26th of this year (as a “gesture of good will,” said the Sony rep on the phone), so my friend could obtain a second replacement for free. This time, though, he declined — you see, he had bought a two-year extended warranty from Best Buy. (Aside: “Extended warranty? How can I lose?”) They offered to give him a gift card with the full value of the 60 GB PS3 + tax (obviously, they don’t have any more of them on hand). He has also been planning to buy an HDTV recently, so he figured he’d just buy an 80 GB PS3 and put the $650 or so from the gift card towards a $750 TV. Simple, right?

[Charlie Murphy voice]: Wrong.

My buddy went to the local Best Buy to try and buy an 80 GB PS3; he knew of the rumors that it had been discontinued as of January 28th, but he figured they’d still have some stock on hand. Nope...a sales associate confirmed the discontinuation rumor, and in a rather interesting additional tidbit, he also said that a new SKU with a 160 GB hard drive was forthcoming — this summer! But until then, said the associate, the only PS3 that Best Buy will be selling is the 40 GB model. In fact, if you go to BestBuy.com, they don’t even show the 80 GB model anymore — just the 40 GB version.

But my friend is not a man who gives up easily. He called me on his way out of Best Buy to give me the news, but mentioned that he was going to check out some other places to see if they had any 80 GB models remaining. He IMed me a little over an hour ago (I’ve replaced his screen name with “MasterMS”):

MasterMS: Yo you there?
BrOnXbOmBr21: yeah
BrOnXbOmBr21: i was just about to call you, actually
MasterMS: Well after going to bestbuy, target, circuit city, Walmart, gamestop, and calling two other gamestops I got nothing
BrOnXbOmBr21: really
BrOnXbOmBr21: i'm shocked
MasterMS: Me too
MasterMS: Apparently they have all be out of stock for awhile
BrOnXbOmBr21: you mean forever
BrOnXbOmBr21: if it's discontinued, anyway
MasterMS: And everywere gave the same response. Discontinued, new SKUs wil be in the summer
BrOnXbOmBr21: yeah ok
BrOnXbOmBr21: summer?!?!
MasterMS: Yeah
MasterMS: They all said the summer
MasterMS: Like every store was told what to say by someone

Currently, the 80 GB PS3 is available on Amazon.com (in fact, that’s where my friend ended up buying it from), but CircuitCity.com is showing that it is “Out of stock online”, and Target.com says it’s in “stores only”. On the other hand, you can still buy the 80 GB model online from Wal-Mart and GameStop. You better get ’em while you can, folks... After all, who knows? The new SKU may not have backwards compatibility at all, dumb as that would be. And what would you do then?
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About Samit Sarkarone of us since 7:56 PM on 12.14.2006

Senior Reporter, Polygon at Vox Media
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