Sony Strikes Back with PS3 Price Cut

In response to questions following his keynote address to the Tokyo Game Show this morning, Sony Computer Entertainment President Ken Kutaragi announced a drastic 20% price cut for the PlayStation 3 game console, in time for its November 11 premiere in Japan. The 20 GB model will now sell in Japan for about $429 USD, instead of the $515 USD originally planned.

In addition, both the 20 GB and 60 GB models will feature a high-definition HDMI connector, in response, the company said today, to consumer demands following the machine's introduction at E3 Expo last May.

There is no word as yet as to whether this price cut would translate to the U.S. edition of the 20 GB model, which remains slated for a $499 USD price. Although while Sony was not specific, it's likely that both 20 GB and 60 GB U.S. models will also now feature HDMI connectors.

Sony also disclosed these would be HDMI 1.3 connectors supporting Deep Color, which only makes sense as Sony was the champion in getting that revision passed. The company's statement cited increased consumer demand for higher-quality digital audio, which was one of the major components of the 1.3 revision.

Today's price cut is only likely to increase demand for PS3 in Japan, thus conceivably accelerating its supply shortages. Two weeks ago, Kutaragi was forced to announce that PS3 in Japan would only be available in extremely limited quantities: just 100,000 units will be available come November.

Sheer chaos followed the worldwide release of Microsoft's Xbox 360 last year, when consumers were confronted with supplies limited not nearly to this degree. In Japan -- unlike other countries -- customers disappointed with low supplies simply stayed away from the stores at launch time.

But the PS3 is supposed to be more than a game console, which is the likely reason behind the change to the HDMI specifications. On November 22, Microsoft plans to release its HD DVD player accessory for Xbox 360 in Japan for the eye-opening price of $169 USD.

Conceivably, this could have made HD DVD a cheaper option for Japanese consumers interested in high-definition video, and who'd be willing to wait another 11 days. Sony's price cuts today bring PS3's -- and Blu-ray's -- cost right in line with HD DVD, thus giving BD a new ray of hope at the expense of an extra $94 USD per unit in lost revenue for the company.

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