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Monday, October 01, 2001
Sony says holding U.S. price steady on PlayStation 2

Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp. on Friday said it would not cut the price of its PlayStation 2 video game console in the United States, after lowering prices in Europe and Australia by more than 25 percent.

``We're not changing the price on either of the two consoles,'' said Darren Horwitz, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment of America, referring to the $299 price for the PlayStation 2 and $99 for the original PlayStation. ``Our plans heading forward are to keep the prices the same.''

Sony has held the price on the PlayStation 2 steady since its U.S. launch in November 2000 and has sold an estimated 3.5 million to 4 million units at that price. It has reduced the price in Europe and Australia twice, saying its handling of the television technology needed for those countries had improved.

Speculation has circulated among analysts for months about a price cut. Some analysts had suggested Sony could be forced to reduce prices given the competition in the crucial year-end period.

``As of today ... I'd say no, they don't need to'' cut prices in the United States, said Jeff Griffiths, chief executive of video game retailer Electronics Boutique. (NasdaqNM:ELBO - news).

``I think they could (offer a discount) if they feel the market's starting to slip,'' he said.

Sony cut the console's price in Europe and Australia to 199 pounds sterling ($292.50) from its previous price of 269 pounds ($395.39), which it set in June after cutting the console's price from its launch price of 299 pounds ($439.50).

Sony said the lower retail price reflected increased production efficiency in factories in Japan. The PAL television technology used in Europe and Australia was more expensive, the company said, and distribution and taxes also played into the initial price differences.

The PlayStation 2 is widely expected to be the best-selling of the three next-generation consoles on the U.S. market this holiday season. The other two are new units, the GameCube from Nintendo Co. Ltd. and the Xbox from Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT - news)

The GameCube, whose launch was postponed to Nov. 18 from Nov. 5, will cost $199. The Xbox, whose launch was postponed to Nov. 15 from Nov. 8, will cost $299. The PlayStation 2 and Xbox are priced higher than the GameCube because of features like DVD playback and Internet connectivity.

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