TOKYO – Hoping to encourage more games for the PlayStation 3, Sony has cut in half the price of a software development kit for the struggling console.
Sony Corp.'s gaming unit, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., said prices for the development package for the PlayStation 3 will be reduced to $10,250 in North America, 950,000 yen ($8,600) in Japan and 7,500 euros ($11,250) in Europe.
Monday's move follows last month's price cuts on the PS3 around the world, and Sony has said that sales have improved in the U.S., Japan and Europe. The 80-gigabyte version PS3 now sells for about $499, down from $599.
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Although its predecessor the PlayStation 2 dominated the gaming market, the PS3 has struggled against the Nintendo Co.'s Wii console.
Boosting PS3 sales is crucial for Sony's overall business strategy because it also supports the Blu-ray disc next-generation video, which is vying with the rival HD-DVD format.
The Wii has succeeded in drawing people not usually accustomed to playing electronic games, by offering easier-to-play games that use a wandlike handheld device for the remote controller.
There have been no price cuts on the Wii, which sells for about $249.99 in North America, 249 euros ($370) in Europe and 25,000 yen ($230) in Japan.
It is generally more difficult and expensive to create games for sophisticated machines like the PS3, which is packed with cutting-edge technology and is driven by the Cell microprocessor. But machines won't sell unless there is a variety of games that can be played on them.
Game developers that had previously designed products for the PlayStation 2 are now increasingly making Wii versions of the games.
By October, Nintendo had shipped 13.2 million units worldwide of the Wii, which went on sale late last year. Nintendo is expecting to sell 17.5 million Wiis by the end of this fiscal year, which is March 31.
Sony had sold 5.6 million PS3s worldwide as of the end of September, company spokesman Daisuke Nakata said. The console went on sale late last year in Japan and the U.S. and in March in Europe.
The PS3 has also lagged behind the Xbox 360 machine from U.S. software maker Microsoft Corp. Microsoft has sold 13.4 million Xbox 360 consoles over the last two years.