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Sony Hoping a Smaller, More Robust PS3 Will Spur Holiday Sales

Sony Corp. will sell a smaller, lighter version of the PlayStation 3 console this holiday season as it tries to win back customers flocking to games played on mobile devices and personal computers.

The new consoles, which have more storage capacity than current models, will go on sale Sept. 25 in North America at $249 for 250 gigabytes of storage and $299 for 500 gigabytes, the company said today. Sony will also start the “PlayStation Mobile” service, through which users can download games on their smartphones and tablet computers, on Oct. 3, Andrew House, head of the games business, said in Tokyo.

The games unit is among the focus areas listed this year by Kazuo Hirai, 51, who became Sony’s chief executive officer in April and started reforming the unprofitable television operation and cutting 10,000 jobs. The Tokyo-based company is trying to return to profit following four straight annual losses after the yen gained, the global economy slowed and consumers switched to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. devices.

“Sony is probably trying to lure consumers with the new model after Nintendo released its Wii U,” said Takashi Oka, a Tokyo-based analyst at TIW Inc. “Still, game-console markets have matured in developed nations and it may be hard to stimulate demand just by making it smaller.”

Nintendo’s Release

The Wii U, Nintendo Co.’s latest console, will go on sale in the U.S. Nov. 18, priced from $300, the Osaka-based company said Sept. 13. Nintendo, the world’s biggest maker of video-game machines, said it will introduce new titles for the player, such as “Super Mario” and “Call of Duty.”

The smaller PS3 will make its debut in Europe on Sept. 28 and in Japan on Oct. 4, Sony said.

The game-console industry faces competition from titles played online and on smartphones from companies including Apple…

Read more: Bloomberg Businessweek

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