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Following Sony, Microsoft slashing price of game console

Updated:
SEATTLE (AP) _ Microsoft Corp. is cutting the U.S. price of its Xbox video game console from $299 to $199, mirroring a move announced a day earlier by console kingpin Sony for its Playstation 2.

Microsoft, which introduced the Xbox, its first gaming console, in November, also said it will cut the price in Japan from about $270 to about $193. That move will take effect May 22.

The company scheduled formal announcement of the price cuts for Wednesday.

Last month, Microsoft reduced the Xbox's price by about a third in Europe and Australia.

John O'Rourke, director of global Xbox marketing, said Tuesday that the additional reductions have been in the works for several months, with an announcement previously planned for next week. He said Sony's move forced Microsoft to accelerate its cut ``to make sure nobody buys another video game system because of price.''

Sony, the Japanese electronics and entertainment giant, on Tuesday slashed the U.S. price of PlayStation 2 to $199. It also lowered the price of the less advanced PS one console to $49 from $99.

Sony has been the behemoth of video console sales, shipping more than 30 million Playstation 2 units since introduction in 2000.

Worldwide Xbox sales, meanwhile, have been slower than expected. Microsoft says it expects to have shipped 3.5 million to 4 million consoles by the end of June. That's down from an earlier estimate of 4.5 million to 6 million.

The other major player in the console market, Nintendo, has sold about 4 million of its GameCube units worldwide since their November 2001 introduction. GameCube already was selling for $199 in the United States, and Nintendo said there are no plans to cut that price.
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