Image: Sony PlayStation 3 consoles
Shizuo Kambayashi  /  ASSOCIATED PRESS
Visitors use Sony PlayStation 3 consoles to play games on flat-screen displays at the Square Enix Party, an event for consumers to demonstrate new games of the Japanese developer Square Enix, in Makuhari, near Tokyo.
updated 1/10/2008 10:28:41 AM ET 2008-01-10T15:28:41

Sony's game unit is discontinuing two PlayStation 3 game machine models sold only in Japan to streamline its lineup and boost software development, a company official said Thursday.

Sony Computer Entertainment will stop shipping PS3 machines equipped with 20-gigabyte and 60-gigabyte hard drives to Japanese vendors this month, game unit spokesman Sosuke Kamei said. Sales will end once vendors are out of stock, Kamei said.

Sony's PlayStation 3 lineup in Japan will be focused on the 40-gigabyte model introduced this past November, he said.

The move is expected to help boost software development for the platform, Kamei said. The model is also more energy efficient than the two older models being discontinued, he said.

Sony offers the 40-gigabyte model of the PlayStation in the U.S., along with an 80-gigabyte model. The company discontinued shipments of the 60-gigabyte model in Europe last October, leaving only the 40-gigabyte model for that market.

Sony did not have available a detailed breakdown of sales for each model, Kamei said. Since the launch in November 2006, the company sold an estimated 5.59 million units of all models around the world, he said.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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