Sony is dropping the price of the PlayStation 3 gaming console by $100 effective immediately.
Customers will be able to get a PlayStation 3 with an 80 GB hard drive for $299, and one with a 160 GB hard drive for $399. In addition, Sony has created a new, slimmer version of the PlayStation 3 that is scheduled to hit stores the first week of September. The new unit has a 120 GB hard drive, is 30% lighter and smaller and consumes one-third less energy than the current model. All of these models also have a Blue Ray disc player built in.
“We really think that $299 is the sweet spot when consumers think about all the features that exist in the PlayStation 3. There’s just no better value in the market,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment of America (Stock Quote: SNE).
Sales of the PlayStation 3 (24 million units since its debut in 2006) have lagged behind those of its chief competitor, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 (which has moved 30 million units in roughly the same time period). Xboxes (Stock Quote: MSFT) are available at a variety of price points. The most inexpensive model is $199, but has no build in hard drive. A $299 version has a 60 GB hard drive and a $399 version has a 120 GB hard drive and often comes bundled with a couple of games.
There’s no official word from Microsoft as to whether they’ll drop their prices in response to the news from Sony, but some industry insiders think they will.
“Microsoft may have to do something new for the holidays. Its $299 console not only has half the storage capacity as the "new" PS3, it doesn't have a Blu-ray drive like Sony's console,” writes Brier Dudley in his Seattle Times blog. “Not that many people use all the storage (or Blu-ray ...) but the PS3 could look better to comparison shoppers.”
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