June 14, 2007 11:22 pm

Sony chief ponders cut for PS3 price

Sir Howard Stringer, the chairman and chief executive of Sony Corp, said the electronics and entertainment company was trying to “refine” how much it could afford to cut the price of PlayStation 3 gaming consoles, saying there was “no question” consumers wanted the price to be lower.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sir Howard said rival Nintendo’s game called Wii – which is by far outselling the more expensive PlayStation – was based on a “very good business model” but he saw the
two systems as “complementary and supplementary”.

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Sony fell short of its PS3 shipment target in the year just ended by 500,000 units, and analysts are expecting the games division to incur a loss of Y60bn ($488m) to Y70bn in the current year. PS3 sales have been lacklustre in Japan and the US, owing to its high price of about $600, and a small selection of software titles.

Sony has a target of shipping 11m consoles this year. With production costs falling, some analysts expect Sony to cut prices by $100 before the crucial Christmas sales period.

“Nintendo Wii has been a successful enterprise, and a very good business model, compared with ours . . . because it’s cheaper,” Mr Stringer said in a video interview. “That [price cuts] is what we are studying at the moment. That’s what we are trying to refine.”

Sir Howard said he expected “energy [in PS3 sales] by Christmas, and then you will begin to see break-out games”. Sony is launching a virtual-world game called Home this year, and up to 30 other games.

Shares in Sony Corp have risen this year as concerns about the company’s profit-ability have eased. Strong sales of televisions, and the recent box office success of Spider-Man 3, have helped improve sentiment.

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