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Sony cuts Japanese PS 2 pricing

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Sony will cut the price of a PlayStation 2 in Japan by 15 per cent to ¥29,800 ($240) on Thursday.

And next month the Japanese giant will roll out the console in other Far Eastern countries.

Sony last cut the PS2's price in June, when it sliced ¥4800 off the ¥39,800 price-tag.

The latest cut is designed to help the console compete more effectively with the much newer Nintendo GameCube in the run-up to Christmas.

The cut also puts the PlayStation under the anticipated debut price of Microsoft's Xbox, which is scheduled to ship in Japan next February. As PS2 is Xbox's main rival, Sony's cut now will either raise the premium Microsoft will force on Xbox customers, or increase the degree to which the software giant will have to subsidise its console at launch. Sony's lead gives it room to make cuts because it now has a substantial portfolio of games and software licences to cover the reduction. As a new player, Microsoft has much less room for manoeuvre.

Sony follows the Japanese price cut with the official launch on 13 December of the PlayStation 2 in Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia. The Taiwanese debut will follow in January. Sony has resisted launches in these territories because of the level of software piracy it anticipates there - a real consideration when the real money in the console market comes from the games not the hardware.

However, with Xbox anticipated to be released throughout the Far East later in the year, Sony is obviously willing to risk a similar move. ®

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