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Gamers assess 'really pretty' PS3

Japanese customers loving price drop

The Japanese public finally got their hands on Sony’s PS3 (PlayStation 3) at the Tokyo Game Show on Saturday. Initial reactions were all favourable.

Titles such as 'Resistance: Fall of Man', 'Genji: Days of the Blade' and 'Ridge Racer 7' will be among the games available at the console’s Japan launch on 11 November but there was also considerable interest in some of the software that is on show in an unfinished state.

'Heavenly Sword' from Sony, which is slated for release sometime in early 2007, is a swords and sorcery game featuring a heroine on a stereotypically impossible quest. Keen gamer Rei Itoh from Tokyo spent 20 minutes playing the game this morning and was eager to buy both a PS3 and a copy of 'Heavenly Quest'.

"It has such great graphics - the cut-scenes between games are just like movies," she said, adding that the destructible scenery made hacking furniture to pieces - as well as dastardly opponents - a welcome feature.

Sony last week announced that it is to cut the price of its PlayStation 3 console - but this move will benefit only Japanese customers.

By slashing the cost from ¥62,790 (about £283) to ¥49,980 (£225), Sony has reduced the asking price by some 20 percent. This may seem surprising given the plethora of rumours in the industry about negative profit margins.

The move is seen as an attempt to stop rivals Microsoft and Nintendo grabbing large portions of the console market with their latest consoles - the Xbox 360 and Wii respectively.

However, the bad news is that consumers in Europe and the US won't see similar reductions - Sony plans to stick with a tag of $499 (£262) for the US and €499 (£335) in Europe.

We collared another would-be PS3 owner, Dan Bourque from Canada, in line waiting for a taste of the new FPS (first-person-shooter) 'Resistance: Fall of Man'. He told us: "we shouldn’t expect too much from a new console at first, as it’s unfair to the developers - they need time to find out what the hardware can do. A good FPS has to be the benchmark of a console, so I am excited about checking out Resistance", he continued.

When asked for her immediate impression of the PlayStation 3, a Japanese gamer who declined to be named remarked 'sugoi kirei', which means 'really pretty' in Japanese - a pithy phrase that may well sum-up how the next-generation console battle will be fought in the minds of consumers.

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