Shops Drop 20GB PlayStation

The cheaper of Sony Computer Entertainment's two PlayStation 3 consoles is getting harder to find in the U.S.

The 20G-byte version, which costs $500, has been taken off-sale by retailer BestBuy and Sony's own online store displays an error message when the page for the model in question is requested.

But despite its removal from SonyStyle the product hasn't been discontinued, the company said.

"The line-up [at SonyStyle] is decided based on market demand and so it's not surprising that they are not selling it on their Web site but if you go to a retailer you can find it," said Satoshi Fukuoka, a spokesperson for SCEI in Tokyo.

He said the more expensive version with a 60GB hard disk drive has always been more popular among users and that's why some retail outlets aren't stocking the lower-spec model. The second version costs $600 and comes with a wireless Internet adapter not present on the cheaper model.

The 20GB model was launched by Sony in Japan and the U.S. last November. When the PlayStation 3 went on sale in Europe in March this year Sony put only the 60GB model on sale, citing consumer preference for the more expensive version.

A possible new version of the PlayStation 3 was revealed last month in a filing made by Sony to the Federal Communications Commission. In the filing Sony noted a new model with an 80GB hard disk drive.

A spokesperson for Sony declined to comment on the company's plans for future upgrades to the PlayStation 3.

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