Sony's PS2 sells 20M, color versions planned

Fresh from celebrating the sale of its 20 millionth PlayStation 2 console, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) will use the Tokyo Game Show, which opens Friday, to unveil versions of the PS2 game console in a range of colors other than the traditional black.

The company, which is facing a looming battle against the just-launched Gamecube from Nintendo Co. Ltd. and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox, will launch versions of the PlayStation 2 in "super red," "metallic silver," "astral blue," "snow white" and "light yellow."

The consoles will retail for 50,000 yen (US$417) per unit -- a healthy mark-up on the usual price of 35,000 yen.

Whether consumers will pay the extra money for a different color case is a gamble for SCEI, especially when Nintendo's Gamecube, which is available in blue, orange or black, carries a price tag exactly half that of the color PS2 units. Microsoft has not revealed the local price of the Xbox, which will go on sale in Japan in February, but the console carries a price of $299 in the U.S.

SCEI's sale of its 20 millionth PS2 comes just over a year and a half since the company first launched the machine and around six months after it sold its 10 millionth unit.

In Japan, where the console was launched on March 4, 2000, SCEI said it has sold 6.86 million units. Sales in North America, where the PS2 first went on sale on Oct. 26, 2000, are higher at 8.55 million while European sales have totaled 4.63 million units since the console first went on sale on Nov. 24, 2000.

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