Tokyo: Sony Corp. announced on 9 July that it was slashing the price of the PS3 console to $499 from $599. But it has has no plans to reduce the Japan price for the game machine from $480, said Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. spokeswoman Nanako Kato.
Sony said it will offer a model with a bigger hard drive for storing downloaded content such as video games and high-definition movies for $599 in the US, starting in August. Kato said there are no plans so far to offer the new 80-gigabyte PS3 in Japan.
Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo Co. are engaged in a fierce competition in the game business. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has struggled in Japan, where gamers are opting to buy the PS3 and Nintendo’s Wii.
Microsoft said last week it’s spending $1 billion to repair problems with the Xbox 360, including those sold in Japan.
Huston said Microsoft has boosted its image in Japan, the company’s biggest market outside the US, over the last three years, but needs to do more to enhance its corporate business and expand network-related services for the home.
Microsoft will boost employment in Japan by 400 people, or 17%, of today’s 2,300 people to beef up operations, including quality controls, he said.
Microsoft has sold 11.6 million Xbox 360 machines worldwide, and does not disclose how many were sold in Japan.
Nintendo has said it sold 5.84 million Wii machines worldwide in the five months since its release in November, 2.37 million in the Americas, and 2.0 million in Japan. The Kyoto-based company said it expected to sell 14 million more Wii machines in the fiscal year ending in March 2008.
Sony has shipped 5.5 million PS3 machines in the fiscal year through March.
Sony Corp. announced Monday a $100 price cut for the PlayStation 3 in North America and plans for a beefed-up version of the console in a bid to catch up with rivals Nintendo and Microsoft.
Sony said it had cut the price of the PlayStation 3 (PS3) with a 60-gigabyte hard drive to $499 in the key North American market, effective immediately.
It also unveiled plans to sell a version of the PS3 with a 80-gigabyte hard drive in North America from next month for 599 dollars, following its launch in South Korea last month.
“We’re introducing the 80-gigabyte model and with that comes the price cut of the 60-gigabyte” version, said Sony Computer Entertainment spokeswoman Nanako Kato in Tokyo.
The 80-gigabyte model “isn’t that much different from the 60 gigabyte (model). It comes with the same features but more capacity,” she said.
Sony has no plans at present to cut the price of the PS3 or introduce the beefed up version in other markets, Kato said.
“It depends on the demand. Each market has different conditions,” she said.
PS3 sales are trailing those of Nintendo’s Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360. The Wii outsold the PS3 by more than six to one in Japan in June, according to research from publisher Enterbrain.
US sales of the Wii with its simple motion-sensing controller have also outpaced those of the PS3.
Even after the price cut, the PS3 is still more expensive than its rivals. The Wii cost $249 in the US while the Xbox 360 sells for $299 or $399.
Sony has much riding on the success of the PS3, which is seen as crucial to the iconic company’s future after a series of setbacks, including recalls of millions of faulty computer batteries.
Sony suffered its biggest quarterly loss in four years in the three months to March partly because of its huge investment in the PS3.
Sony already slashed the price of the PS3 by 20% in Japan ahead of its launch here last November as it prepared for a fierce fight against the cheaper games consoles from Microsoft and Nintendo.