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Stores slash PSX prices - report

Almost 50 per cent off

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Japanese retailers have slashed the price of Sony's PVR-cum-games-console, the PSX, by almost 50 per cent in a bid to drum up consumer interest, according to Internet reports.

Sony offers two PSX models in Japan, the only territory in which the machine is currently sold. One sports a 250GB hard drive, the other a 160GB unit. To date, the two have retailed for ¥95,000 (£484/$863) and ¥74,000 (£377/$672), respectively.

But according to GamesIndustry.biz, citing unconfirmed third-party reports, a variety of Japanese retail outlets have cut those prices to ¥52,900 (£270/$480) and ¥39,800 (£203/$361).

If the cuts have not been sanctioned by Sony - their size suggests these are not manufacturer-led reductions - it will surely come as something of a disappointment for the consumer electronics giant. Launched last year just before Christmas, sales were so far below Sony's forecasts that it was forced to suspend production during the Spring in an attempt to clear out channel inventories.

The machines - which integrate a PlayStation 2 console into a TiVo-style hard disk video recorder - have undergone a number of software upgrades during 2004 to add features promised before the PSX shipped but dropped at the eleventh hour.

Sony relaunched the platform early in July, but two months on, the price cuts would suggest that the move hasn't proved very successful.

In March this year, Sony hinted at a pre-Christmas release in the UK, but it later admitted that it had postponed the UK and US release to sometime in 2005.

With PlayStation 3 due to be formally launched early next year, and with the console already known to sport a Blu-ray optical drive, most likely a recordable version, the opportunity to exploit the PSX in Western markets is dwindling. ®

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Sony to ship new PSX models on 1 July
Sony pauses PSX production
Sony ships second PSX update
Sony 'confirms' 2004 PSX European launch
Sony to unveil PlayStation 3 early '05

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