Latest News about Sony on Thursday said it is reducing the price of the PlayStation 2 console to US$129 from $149 in a move that effectively paves the way for the introduction of its next-generation PlayStation 3 hardware.The move comes on the heels of a recent price reduction of its PlayStation Portable handheld console. It should open up the spotlight for the Japan-based electronics giant to showcase the PlayStation 3 console at E3, the video game industry’s trade show held in May.
PS3 Due in November 2006
The PlayStation 2 is easily the world’s most popular video game console, having sold more than 101 million units, compared with 24 million Microsoft Xbox Latest News about Xbox units and 21 million Nintendo GameCube Latest News about GameCube units. In the U.S., the PS2 commands a market share of more than 55 percent, according to NPD Group.
“While we continue to innovate and design groundbreaking new products, we remain dedicated to our long-term vision for the PlayStation 2 platform,” said Kaz Hirai, president and chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment America, in a statement.
Sony, which said it will begin selling the PlayStation 3 in early November, enters the battle for market share in next-generation hardware a year after Microsoft, which began selling its Xbox 360 console in November. Although Xbox 360 shipments have been slower than expected, Microsoft maintains it is on track to meet a global distribution target of 4. 5 million to 5.5 million units by the end of June.
We Want Playable Demos!
To date, Sony has kept non-playable versions of the PlayStation 3 behind glass for a number of trade shows, including the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas held in January.
For this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, some industry watchers are expecting playable hardware with playable versions of games. Similarly, Nintendo is expected to have a coming-out party for its own next-generation console at E3.
Analyst P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research, in a note to investors last week, wrote that a forthcoming price cut will be an incremental but not material upside for video game publishers.
Shares of major independent video-game publishers were largely unaffected, with Electronic Arts gaining 0.4 percent and THQ shares off around 1.6 percent. Sony shares gained nearly 1.7 percent.