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Sony to Cut Prices on PlayStation 3

Sony on Thursday cut the price of its PlayStation 3 game console in the U.S. and announced an even cheaper model that will arrive before the holiday shopping season.

The top-line PlayStation model, with an 80 gigabyte hard drive, now costs $499, down from $599. That effectively eliminates the lower-end model, which has a 60-gigabyte drive and has sold for $499.

A new low-end model with a 40-gigabyte drive will go on sale Nov. 2 for $399.

Unlike the other PlayStation 3 models, the new one won't be able to play games made for the PlayStation 2. In a statement, Sony said this was due to a more extensive lineup of games of the PlayStation 3.

The U.S. launch of the 40-gigabyte model was widely expected, since Sony has already announced it for Japan and Europe. It narrows the price gap with competing game consoles, but the PlayStation is still the most expensive.

Microsoft's Xbox 360 costs $350 and Nintendo's Wii costs $250. The PlayStation 3 has been trailing them both in U.S. sales, and the Wii has been a breakout hit for Nintendo, with more than 9 million units shipped. Sony has sold 5 million PlayStation 3s since they went on sale in November last year.

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