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PlayStation 3 price drop: Enough to bolster Sony sales?

The PlayStation 3 is getting a price drop of fifty bucks. Meanwhile, will the Sony Vita portable be DOA?

By Matthew Shaer / August 17, 2011

PlayStation 3 consoles get a price cut of $50 this week. Here, a man tries a Playstation 3 game at an expo in Hong Kong.

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Beleaguered by an embarrassing hacking incident and drooping console sales, Sony is dropping the price of the PlayStation 3, its flagship console. Beginning this week, the 160 GB version of the PS3 will retail for $249, down from $299. Meanwhile, the price tag on the king-sized 320 GB PS3 will be sliced from $349 to $299, putting the machine more on less on parity with the Xbox 360. (The 250 GB version of the Microsoft console goes for $299.)

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"The new price will make the PS3 more accessible than ever before," Jack Tretton, president of Sony's PlayStation business, wrote on the PlayStation blog. It might also help users forget about the hacker attack which crippled the PlayStation Network for weeks on end. Full PSN service was not restored until the end of May, losing Sony millions of dollars, and gaining the company a whole lot of embittered gamers.

In related news, over at the MSNBC games blog, staffer Winda Benedetti wonders about the fate of the forthcoming Sony Vita portable, which is expected to hit shelves in the US early next year. Specifically, Benedetti links the fate of the Nintendo 3DS console – the 3DS turned out to be something of a dud among consumers, forcing Nintendo to slash the price – to the future of the Vita. Perhaps consumers no longer want standalone portable gaming machines?

Benedetti highlights this telling quote, which was given to GameIndustry.biz by Lyle Hall, a developer with Heavy Iron Studios: "If people aren't willing to pay $249 for a Nintendo 3DS, why would they pay $299 for Vita?" Hall said. "People don't want to carry more than one thing in their pocket. That’s why Android and iPhone have done so well. They are the devices of choice. They offer multiple functions outside of gaming."

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