Yesterday we tried to go into rumor-control mode, as people were citing a European Sony exec saying that the lowered-priced 60GB console will be gone forever once current stock runs out. He said that this would happen within 3 weeks, which is what set off red flags for me.
People have been scrambling trying to get to the bottom of the story; Sony has been tight-lipped. Execs and Spokespeople from different regions are saying different things. I speculated that once the full-featured 60GB units at $499 run out, they will probably replace it with a crippled version that doesn’t have the Emotion Engine.
Joystiq have finally gotten a clear statement from Sony, and as it turns out, this price drop really IS a price drop. Sony does NOT want to have multiple SKUs in the US/Canada region. I guess they learned their lesson with the 20GB version that failed miserably.
So once these units run out, you will only be able to get an Emotionless 80GB version for $599. At that point, Sony will evaluate whether they need to drop the price on that, or go against what they say they want to do, and introduce a new unit at $499.
So if you want a proper PS3 experience, with full backwards compatibility at the still-expensive-but-better price of $499, it’s pretty much now or never. After these run out (which Sony says shouldn’t be for several months), your only choice will be to spend $100 more for 20GB of extra drive space, and poor backwards compatibility.