Sony Plans Slimmer PlayStation 3 Before Year End
TOKYO - Sony Corp. is introducing a smaller, slimmer and lighter version of its PlayStation 3 home console ahead of the year-end holidays as it gears up for growing competition in games from smartphones.
The announcement Wednesday from the Japanese electronics and entertainment company comes a day ahead of the annual Tokyo Game Show, where game makers show their wares. But the iPhone 5 smartphone from Apple Inc. is hogging much of the attention, already drawing long lines for pre-orders at some retailers, and more lines are expected ahead of Friday’s launch.
The new PlayStation 3, closer to the size of a laptop, is half the size of the original model, introduced in 2006. It also offers more hard-drive memory at 500 gigabytes and 250 gigabytes, up from the current 320 GB and 160 GB options.
The global rollout starts Sept. 25 in North America, where the 250 GB version will sell for $269. The other version sells for $299 from Oct. 30. In Japan, the models go on sale Oct. 4 for 29,980 yen ($380) and 24,980 yen ($316).
Tokyo-based Sony is struggling as its other electronics businesses get battered by competition from Apple’s iPhones as well as by cheaper Asian rivals.
The maker of Bravia TVs and Walkman portable players posted its worst loss in its 66-year history for the fiscal year ended in March - its fourth straight year of red ink.
The company is banking on games to help steer a turnaround. President Kazuo Hirai spent much of his career leading the game division.
To woo consumers, Sony is slashing the price on its PlayStation Portable, or PSP, mobile device as it increasingly focuses on its upgraded PlayStation Vita, which went on sale last year, for on-the-go games.