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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. did not slash the price of the PlayStation 3 game console in Europe and PAL regions, following price reduction in the USA, causing some criticism from its fans. However, the European chief of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. said that once the current stock is sold out in the U.S. there will be no more $499 versions of the console at all.

“What the US are offering from the 1st of August is a $599 [PS3 80GB] version with one game. All they’re doing is taking their stock in trade that they’ve got at the moment of the 60GB model, marking the price down and it will all be gone by the end of July,” said David Reeves, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, in an interview with GamesIndustry.biz web-site.

The claim means that Sony still cannot sell PlayStation 3 game console for $499 without making a huge loss. Thus, by increasing the capacity of built-in hard disk drive, which added negligible cost according to Mr. Reeves, the company managed to keep the price of the PS3 high, making it impossible for gamers in budget to get a PlayStation 3 for $499. In fact, the PlayStation 3 80GB does not have built-in PlayStation 2 hardware, which means that its backwards compatibility was compromised in order to cut the manufacturing costs for Sony.

“The difference between 60GB and 80GB is not really necessary. The difference in cost between a 60GB and 80GB is just Euro cents; it’s nothing, because the cost of [hard disk drive] is so small. […] The difference is that the 60GB we have now [in Europe] has about 88% backwards compatibility. The 60GB they had had 100% backwards compatibility. They felt that by going down for 100 to 88, for example, that they’d have to add something in – and that’s what they did,” Mr. Reeves said.

Instead of a price-drop, PAL region will see PlayStation 3 60GB with a richer bundle, which will consist of two Sixaxis controller and two free games. Nevertheless, Mr. Reeves did not rule out the possibility of a price-slash for PAL regions.

“Probably we could have gone for 80GB, but does it really make any difference? We just know that we get a better supply on the 60GB than we will on the 80GB. So we chose to continue with the 60GB until we find that we can get something better, maybe lower cost. It just didn’t seem necessary to us,” said David Reeves.

Sony PlayStation 3 console is based on the Cell processor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba, the RSX graphics chip by Nvidia Corp., wireless network and Bluetooth connectivity and is equipped with Blu-ray optical disk drive. There are several versions of the consoles available around the world with 60GB or 80GB hard disk drives and variable compatibility with PlayStation 1/2 games.

Sony PlayStation 3 price varies across the world. The machine is sold for $599 in the U.S., ?59 980 ($492) in Japan, ?599 ($824) in the most of the European markets and for pricing more or less close to that in variety of countries (UK – ?425 ($865), Ireland – ?629 ($866), Australia – AUD 999.95 ($871), New Zealand – NZ 1199.95 ($951)).

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