PlayStation3 sales zoom after price cut

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Sony Corp. said sales of its PlayStation 3 gaming consoles have risen fast in the United States since it cut the price of its 80 gigabyte model by $100 and launched a 40 gigabyte model.

In the two weeks ending Nov. 11, Sony said it sold more than 100,000 consoles of all types.

The price cuts makes the PS3 more competitive against Nintendo Co.'s Wii and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 as the holiday season opens, Sony chairman and chief executive Howard Stringer said.

"It's the breakthrough we've been anticipating," Stringer told The Associated Press Wednesday. "We've been holding our breath."

Sony said it had been selling between 30,000 and 40,000 consoles per week before the Oct. 29 price cut.

In the first week after the price drop, sales rose to 75,000. Sales rose again to more than 100,000 per week after the introduction of the 40 gigabyte model on Nov. 2, Sony said.

Lagging sales of the PlayStation 3, compared to sales of the Wii and XBox 360, prompted Sony to cut the price in the U.S. as it had in Japan and Europe.

"Obviously, we've taken so much heat over the year on PS3," Stringer said from his office in Tokyo. "Finally, the turning point has been passed."

Stringer said Sony is poised to benefit from the difficulty Nintendo has had producing Wii consoles fast enough to keep up with demand.

"It's a little fortuitous that the Wii is running out of hardware," Stringer said.

Executives said the rising sales also boost the Blu-ray high definition DVD format. A Blu-ray drive comes with the PS3.

"It puts us vastly ahead of where the other format is going to be in terms of an installed base in people's homes by the end of this holiday season," Andrew House, Sony's chief marketing officer, said.

Toshiba Corp. has been selling players for its rival DVD format for high-definition as low as $200 and prices are expected to drop further.
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