TOKYO (AFP) — Sony Corp. said Thursday that it will stop selling the two original PlayStation 3 models in Japan and focus on the new slimmed down version amid fierce competition from rival Nintendo Co.
Sony's game unit said it would end shipments of PlayStation 3s with 20- and 60-gigabyte hard disk drives this month in its domestic market.
Sony is pinning its hopes on the cheaper PS3 with a 40-GB hard disk drive that was introduced in Japan in November last year in an attempt to better compete with Nintendo's more affordable Wii video game console.
Unlike the two original versions, which were launched in November 2006, the newest PS3 model does not play games designed for the PlayStation 2, has two high-speed USB ports instead of four and has no super audio CD system.
It was introduced with a price tag of 39,980 yen (364 dollars), compared with a reduced price of 44,980 yen for the standard 20-GB hard disk drive PS3. It is still costlier than the Wii, which retails for 25,000 yen.
The company will "vigorously promote the expansion of the PS3 platform by further concentrating on the 40GB hard disk drive model," Sony Computer Entertainment said in a statement.
The move comes as rival Nintendo continues to enjoy strong demand for the Wii, known for its motion-sensitive controller, outselling the PS3 three-fold in its domestic market last year, according to a recent survey.
While Sony put the emphasis on chip power and ultra-realistic graphics for the latest addition to the PlayStation series, Nintendo opted to develop a cheaper, easy-to-use console that would appeal to a wider audience.
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