Sony to cut PS3 prices, release new model

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TOKYO  -- Sony's games division will cut ¥5,000 ($43) off the price of some of its PlayStation 3 consoles in Japan next week, ahead of the release of a more powerful model and to try to tap into the busy end-of-year shopping season.

The new console will be released Nov. 11 and features a 40-gigabyte hard disk. At ¥39,980, it will be ¥5,000 cheaper than the 20-gigabyte version, an official of Sony Computer Entertainment confirmed. The new units will come in two colors, the company said, either "clear black or ceramic white."

"It will be less expensive because the new 40-gigabyte version will not play PS2 titles, whereas the earlier machine will, and does not have the super audio function," said SCI spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka.

"It has been a year since the launch and more and more PS3 software titles are being released," he said. "I think a lot of users will find the 40-gigabyte version very attractive and we hope to see firm growth in sales this season."

The move in Japan comes on the heels of the news that the new PS3 will be launched in Europe this week and be available in the U.S. in the coming weeks.

At present, there are more than 40 titles available in Japan on disc and another 30 downloadable, Fukuoka said.

The price of the existing 60-gigabyte version will also be reduced ¥54,980, with the cuts to go into effect on Oct. 17.

To date, Sony has sold 4.28 million PS3 units worldwide, finding the competition provided by Microsoft's Xbox 360 and, more importantly, Nintendo's Wii console, difficult to overcome.
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