A memo to Best Buy employees indicates that Sony may be discontinuing the 80GB model of its PlayStation 3, leaving no backwards-compatible versions of the PS3 on store shelves.
According to the memo, Best Buy will stop selling the $499 PS3 on January 28 — next week. Sony late last year stopped selling the 60GB version of the PS3, the only other version of the console that was backwards-compatible with PlayStation 2 games.
This memo only affects North American gamers, as the UK and Japanese markets have already moved to a single-SKU model (the 40GB PS3).
If Sony removes the 80GB PS3 from store shelves and ceases all production of that model, there will no longer be a new-SKU PS3 that plays PS2 games. The 60GB PS3, long since gone at retail, used hardware to enable PS2 games to play on the PS3. The 80GB version, which is apparently on its way out, used software emulation to enable playback for many, but not all, PS2 games.
With both versions gone, the question begs to be asked: is Sony working on yet another version/configuration of the PS3 that will support PS2 playback, or is it leaving consumers high and dry with their PS2 game libraries?