Sony to cut PlayStation 2 price in Japan

With Nintendo Co. Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. turning the heat up in the console gaming market as the crucial year-end holiday selling period begins, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. will cut the price of its PlayStation 2 console in Japan later this week, the company said Monday.

The official retail price of the PlayStation 2 will fall to 29,800 yen (US$242) from Nov. 29, said SCEI. The price cut, down from 35,000 yen, is only the second since SCEI put the console on the market in Sept. 1999, and comes at a time when the system is facing its fiercest competition yet in the domestic market: from Nintendo's new Gamecube console and Microsoft's Xbox, which is soon to be launched in Japan.

The Gamecube went on sale in Japan in September and carries a retail price of 25,000 yen. With this week's price cut, the difference between the two consoles has been halved and SCEI will be hoping that consumers will consider paying a little more money for its older system to benefit from a much larger selection of software.

Competition is expected to increase in February when Microsoft launches the Xbox in Japan. Already the three consoles are on sale side-by-side in the U.S. and preliminary information from major retailers shows both the Gamecube and Xbox were hot-selling items over the Thanksgiving holiday, last weekend.

After the Japanese price cut, all eyes will be on Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. to see if it tweaks the North American retail price to better compete with the two new rivals.

SCEI also announced Monday that it will soon launch the PlayStation 2 in several major Asian markets. From Dec. 13 the system will go on sale in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand, and sales in Taiwan will follow from Jan. 24, 2002. It will carry retail prices of S$466, HK$1,980, 1,180 ringgit, 15,990 baht and NT$11,280, respectively.

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