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In a bid to streamline sales of casual video games, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. on Tuesday said that starting from the 1st of April, 2009, the PlayStation 2 video game console will cost $99 in the U.S. and €99 ($131.5). The company hopes that low price and very wide game portfolio for the PS2 will catalyze more people to acquire this very affordable console and will also help the firm to establish better position in the Latin American market.

Since launching in 2000, PlayStation 2 has sold more than 136 million sell-in units worldwide, making it the most popular system in gaming industry history. PlayStation 2’s vast library of games from all genres for all types of audiences will grow to nearly 1900 titles this year, which makes it a rather attractive system to get for a novice gamer, especially in Latin America Region, where Sony Computer Entertainment America plans to officially launch its PS2, PS3 and PlayStation Portable systems shortly.

“Demand for PlayStation 2 remains strong throughout the world, and the new $99 price point will bring in new consumers who will discover how PlayStation platforms are an outstanding choice for their gaming and home entertainment needs,” said said Jack Tretton, president and chief executive officer at SCEA.

While Sony claims that slashing the price of the PlayStation 2 from $129/€129 to $99/€99 represents “significant saving”, the fact is that Sony is trying to expand its presence in new markets, such as Latin America and Eastern Europe, where video game systems are not very popular at the moment.

Latin America seems to be an exact point of interest for Sony Computer Entertainment: a week ago a new video game console called Zeebo was launched in Brazil at $200 price-point, just about $50 below the cost of the PlayStation 2 on the grey market in the country. At present it is unclear whether PlayStation consoles are available in the Latin America officially, but once the PS2 systems emerge at $99 price-point, they will have high chances to be much more popular than Zeebo, thanks to broader portfolio of games. Zeebo is not only aimed at Latin America and will be introduced in other developing countries in the coming years, but with the price of PlayStation 2 slashed further in European regions, Zeebo may not get highly popular.

One thing that will slowdown Sony PlayStation 2 success in the Latin America is relatively high pricing of video games: in the U.S. Sony charges up to $40 for a new video game and up to $20 for an outdated one, which is considerably higher than $10 for a pirated PS2 game in Brazil or $12 for a genuine Zeebo game in the country.

Tags: Sony, Playstation, Zeebo

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