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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. has announced that it would trim the pricing of its highly-anticipated PlayStation 3 game console in Japan by more than $60 to make it more affordable. But analysts claim that the amount of such relatively low-cost game machines will be limited initially.

“The [PlayStation 3 core] game console will retail for ?49 980 ($430) from November 11 and comes with a HDMI connection that allows high-definition pictures,” Ken Kutaragi, head of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., said at the Tokyo Game Show. The company previously said it would sell a lower-end model for ?59 800 ($513), excluding tax, notes Bloomberg news-agency.

As reported, the initial PS3 shipments to the U.S. will be 400 thousand units and in Japan – 100 thousand units, however. It was also reported earlier that Sony expects to ship 1.2 million PlayStation 3 consoles to the USA and the same number to Japan by the end of 2006. However, at least in the U.S. Sony will give the higher-end PlayStation 3 premium system a priority in shipments.

“The split between premium (60GB) and core (20GB) units at U.S. retail stores, should be roughly 80/20%,” said Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian, citing the management of Sony Computer Entertainment America.

Just like in case of Xbox 360, there will be two versions of the PlayStation console available: one is equipped with 20GB hard disk drive – it will have recommended price of $499, another features 60GB hard drive, card reader and HDMI output – it will be offered for $599, which makes the PlayStation 3 the world’s most expensive game console. If Mr. Kutaragi's quote above reported by Bloomberg news-agency is correct, then the “core” system will also have HDMI cable.

Given that larger hard disk drive, HDMI output and card reader hardly cost Sony additional $100, it is highly likely that the company wants to give priority to the premium console version in order to cut down high building costs of the game machine and losses on the “core” version of the console.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp. and will be equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive.


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