Sony Introduces New PS3 Model In Japan, Cuts Prices - InformationWeek

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Sony Introduces New PS3 Model In Japan, Cuts Prices

The new PS3 model has a 40-Gbyte hard disk drive and a suggested price of $342, but it won't be able to play PS2 games.

Sony on Tuesday said it would launch a midrange PlayStation 3 model in Japan in November, and would cut the prices of its low-end model in that country.

The new PS3 model has a 40-Gbyte hard disk drive and a suggested price of $342. The video-game console, however, won't be able to play PS2 games. Sony said in a statement its decision not to make the product backward compatible reflected "both the increased efforts to improve [the] software development environment and the availability of a more extensive line-up of PS3-specific titles." The new model is set for release Nov. 11.

Sony, which is apparently looking to make the PS3 more attractive to holiday shoppers this season, cut the suggested price of its 20-Gbyte PS3 10% to $384. The new price takes effect Oct. 17. Sony also sells in Japan a 60-Gbyte model, which has a suggested price of $470.

Sony's new 40-Gbyte PS3 is set to hit stores in Europe on Wednesday for a suggested price of $563. The company doesn't plan to release the new model in the United States.

As part of a marketing campaign, Sony said it would give a complimentary copy of the movie Spider-Man 3 to the first 200,000 Japanese buyers of any of its PS3 models. Microsoft, which makes the rival Xbox 360, said on Monday it would bundle two video games with the console starting at the end of the month. The move followed price cuts by two months, and was an apparent incentive for holiday shoppers.

Despite price cuts by Sony and Microsoft, sales of the PS3 and Xbox lag behind the Nintendo Wii, a lower-priced console with a popular motion-sensing controller. In June, Nintendo moved almost four times as many Wiis as Sony sold PS3s and almost twice as many as Microsoft did Xbox 360s.

Sony has fallen behind its own projections for PS3 shipments, and has cut prices to boost sales. At the end of its fiscal year, March 31, Sony shipped 5.5 million units, instead of the 6 million the company had been forecasting. Sony has said it expects sales to increase with the release of new games this year, and maintains its sales forecast of 11 million units in the first year.

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