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Sony and Microsoft step up fight with Wii

18 октября 2007

Sony announced a $399 PlayStation 3 for the US on Wednesday while Microsoft confirmed that it would launch a new $279 version of its Xbox 360.

Sony and Microsoft step up fight with WiiThe moves increased price competition with the Nintendo Wii in time for the crucial holiday season sales period.

The Wii remains the cheapest of the next-generation consoles at $250.

But Microsoft signalled that its Xbox 360 Arcade would be challenging the Wii for the new audience that Nintendo was bringing to gaming.

“Arcade becomes [for us] the ability to bring in a new set of audiences. They’re probably a little bit more casually focused, they’re looking for a new family experience or they’re more price focused,” Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices division, told the Financial Times.

The $279 Arcade will include a wireless controller and casual games including Pac-Man, Uno and Luxor 2.
Its launch has been widely rumoured but Mr Bach’s comments were the first official confirmation.

While Microsoft may hope to steal sales from the Wii with the Arcade, its Premium $349 Xbox 360 faces pressure from the $399 PS3, which has a bigger, 40-gigabyte hard drive, built-in wi-fi and a Blu-ray drive.

“I think Microsoft almost has to cut the price of the Premium or bundle it with some games,” said Michael Pachter, analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.

He said the only surprise in Sony’s announcement was the inclusion of the Spider-Man 3 Blu-ray disc in the package.

“It wasn’t clear that people even knew it played movies and in high-def, I can see a Best Buy clerk selling an HDTV and mentioning the PS3.”

The $399 PS3, available on November 2, costs $100 less than Sony’s cheapest stand-alone Blu-ray player.

Jack Tretton, president of Sony Computer Entertainment America, said: “If consumers buy it as a Blu-ray player, they will find other uses for it; this is a great multimedia machine.”

He announced that Sony was also cutting the price of its premium 80Gb PS3 by $100 to $499.

Mr Tretton said while 20Gb and 60Gb versions of the PS3 had been phased out, there would be ample supplies of the 40Gb and 80Gb consoles for the holidays. The US news follows price cuts and the announcement of 40Gb models in Europe and Japan this month. PS3 sales have been weak in the US to date – 1.75m units had been sold to the end of August, compared to 4m Wiis and 6.3m Xbox 360s, according to the NPD research firm.

Источник: Financial Times

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