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Thursday, November 09, 2006
Sony Firm on U.S. Pricing for PlayStation 3


Sony has no plans to cut the price of its upcoming PlayStation 3 video game console in the United States, despite a recent cut announced for Japan, the chief of the company's U.S. electronic entertainment division said on Wednesday.

Kaz Hirai, president and chief executive of Sony ComputerEntertainment America, told Reuters the company would stick with its planned price tags of $499 and $599 when the new PlayStation 3 consoles hit retailers' shelves in the United States on Nov. 17.

"We are very comfortable with the pricing we have announced and have gotten tremendous support from retailers for that price point," Hirai said on the sidelines of the Dow Jones VentureWire Consumer Technology Conference. "So it is full steam ahead with the pricing of $499 and $599."

Sony will introduce the PS3 in Japan on Nov. 11 with the North American launch to follow six days later. The two regions are the two biggest markets for consoles in the $30 billion video game market.

Hirai also said the company was sticking with its forecast of supplying two million units of the PS3 by December and another four million by March as planned.

But after several delays, the PS3 will have to play catch up to rival Microsoft's Xbox 360, which the company introduced last year.

Hirai, however, said he was confident the PS3 would make up lost ground because of features including a Blu-ray high-definition DVD player.

He also said the true test for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo's forthcoming Wii would be next year when the consoles are all available at retailers and consumers have a true choice.

The Wii is Nintendo's planned next-generation video game console, which is highly anticipated because of a remote control with motion sensors that can be swung like a sword or used imaginatively in other games.

"If you look back at the history of product launches we were never first," Hirai said at the conference. "The real test comes when any other products are available in abundance so the consumer can walk into any retailer and pick up whatever console they want."

Consumers have a growing number of digital and online entertainment options, ranging from Apple's iTunes music store to YouTube Internet video site.

Yet Hirai said he was not so worried digital devices and online entertainment options would necessarily divert consumers from video game consoles such as PS3.

"There have always been other entertainment options," he said. "Certainly YouTube and iPods are other entertainment options we are now competing with."


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