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PS3 snub as Sony Japan expands PS2 business

New controller launched but no PS3 price cut

Sony plans to expand its PlayStation 2 (PS2) business in Japan and add a new PlayStation 3 (PS3) controller, but has stopped short of promising a new price cut on its most recent console.

Kaz Hirai, the recently appointed president and CEO of the Sony gaming unit, said Sony plans to put more effort into expanding its PlayStation 2 business - an unusual step because gaming companies typically de-emphasise old consoles when newer versions become available.

In Japan, Sony's home market, the PS2 continues to outsell the PS3: in the week 3-9 September, the PS2 sold 13,360 units in Japan against the PS3's 13,248 units, according to data from Media Create.

As part of Sony's plan, it will promote the PlayStation 2 in developing markets while also continuing to publish new games.

Many had been anticipating that Sony would use the Tokyo Game Show keynote this week to announce a lower price for the PS3. It was at the same event last year that Ken Kutaragi, then president of Sony's computer gaming unit, announced a cut in the price of the PS3 after criticism from both the media and potential users that the console is too expensive.

This year, that didn't happen. Instead a new controller, the DualShock 3, was announced. The controller answers users' calls for a device with a 'rumble' feature, which makes the controller shake at certain points in games. The DualShock 3 will hit Japan in November, and will be available in Europe and North America in early 2008.

To expand the PS3 business, Hirai said Sony will begin sharing know-how built up through its Worldwide Studios unit and will invite game publishers to provide feedback to the company on a periodical basis.

Sony has also acquired two game developers, Evolution Studios and its subsidiary Bigbig Studios. Evolution, which is based in the UK, is best known for the million-seller 'MotorStorm' game - a new version of which is scheduled for release on the PS3 next year.

Hirai also announced a delay to the 'Home' three-dimensional online user community that was due to be released around now. Sony now expects it to be available in early 2008.

See also:

Sony PS3 review

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