The 20GB PlayStation 3's march to the guillotine was written long before Sony was ready to make the official statement. The curious part in the whole 20GB PS3 story was the model's life in Japan apparently being spared the same fate as its kin across the Pacific. Had the Japanese found some magic to make the sale margins work that the silly North Americans hadn't discovered, and the Europeans weren't even worth trying on? Not so fast, some previous quirky statements and tips from Japan are showing the 20GB may be unofficially done there too.
Previously Sony told Famitsu, "We're currently not considering changes akin to North America. However we would like to react flexibly with the market." They also told CVG, "We'll continue to monitor demand for the 20GB model ... which will be factored into any future Euro launch plans." A future launch of the 20GB in Europe seems even less likely following reports Sony is "considering" a 80GB PS3 model, which they said in March there were no plans for. Sony would probably like to drop the 60GB price in the relative future, because if people complain about the $600 price tag of the 60GB model -- imagine the sticker shock of an 80GB model! That means clearing space and minds of the 20GB model, which if it were still on the market would probably drop in price relative to the 60GB model and be an overly attractive price for a Blu-ray player.
The picture above is from one store in Japan which crossed out the 20GB model from their storefront sign, other reports are starting to come in that the 20GB model is saying sayonara in stores. Joystiq spoke with Miller Stevens, a San Francisco native spending some time in Japan, who says, "I headed to some electronics stores in the Shinjuku district. Bic Camera, major store, has 20GB in stock and, when asked, said they were available as far as they knew. Another big store, Yodobashi, did not have them in stock and weren't getting any and weren't clear why. A couple of smaller stores didn't have them, but weren't clear whether it was because there was no supply or they just weren't ordering them." We wait for confirmation that the 20GB PS3 is official dead -- everywhere this time. Maybe Sony is just waiting to call the 20GB's time of death at the same moment they announce the 80GB's life?
[Special thanks to Miller Stevens]