After a European release last year, Sony is reportedly launching a flash-based PlayStation 3 with just 12GB of storage in North America. The model, which is the first North American PlayStation 3 to not feature a capacious physical hard drive, is at odds with Sony's increased focus on digital game and media downloads. The company previously told Engadget that it wasn't bringing the model to North America for that very reason. Microsoft has always offered a low-storage option for its Xbox 360 console, and both systems support storage expansion through USB.
The 12GB PlayStation 3 was priced at $199.99 CAD (roughly $192) from Canadian retailer Future Shop, but the listing has since been removed from the store. Engadget released an image of a boxed US console labelled "do not sell until August 18th," which may go a way to explaining its sudden departure from Future Shop. Although no details to launch the system have been revealed, sources familiar with the matter confirmed to The Verge that Sony plans to release a 12GB PlayStation 3 in the US soon.