Sony Halves Price Of PlayStation 3 Development Kit - InformationWeek

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Software // Enterprise Applications

Sony Halves Price Of PlayStation 3 Development Kit

Sony has been forced to cut prices on its money-losing PS3 in order to compete against the Nintendo Wii.

Sony on Monday cut by nearly half the price of its PlayStation 3 software development kit, in an attempt to encourage more game development on the struggling videogame console.

The move followed by about a month Sony cutting prices of the console around the world to boost sales, which have lagged behind the less expensive and more popular Wii from rival Nintendo. The price for the 80Gbyte PS3 was chopped to $499 from $599. Both consoles shipped about the same time late last year.

In the latest move, Sony Computer Entertainment, the unit responsible for the PlayStation, reduced the price of the SDK, which SCE calls the Reference Tool, to $10,250 in North America, $8,600 in Japan, and $11,250 in Europe. In addition, SCE said it would enhance the development environment by integrating programming tools from SN Systems. SN's core tool is called ProDG.

Sony has been forced to cut prices on its money-losing PS3 in order to compete against the Wii, the hottest selling console. As of October, Nintendo shipped 13.2 million units worldwide, and expects to sell a total of 17.5 million Wiis by the end of the fiscal year March 31, the Associated Press reported. Sony, on the other hand, has shipped only 5.6 million PS3s as of the end of September.

Selling consoles at a loss is not unusual in the industry, since manufacturers make money licensing the platform to game developers. Sony, however, has yet to attract a blockbuster game comparable to Microsoft's Halo 3. The game has broken a number of gaming industry records, including the mark for first-day sales, pulling in $170 million on its Sept. 25 launch. Microsoft said in its financial first quarter that ended Sept. 30, sales of PS3 rival Xbox 360 jumped 100% because of the debut of Halo 3. Microsoft has sold 13.4 million Xbox 360s since the console's release two years ago.

While Sony has trailed Microsoft in games, Nintendo has bested the one-time console leader with a strategy of offering easy-to-use games on a relatively inexpensive console. The Wii, which uses a popular motion-sensing control that gets players more involved in games, sells for $250 in North America, $370 in Europe and $230 in Japan. The company, which has never cut prices, has managed to attract people who normally would avoid the more complicated games available for Xbox 360 and PS3, which are more advanced consoles.

As of September, Sony has sold 5.6 million PS3s, according to the AP. The company has reported higher sales as a result of its most recent price cuts.

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