Sony is to slash the Japanese price of its forthcoming PlayStation 3. The company will cut the price of the console by 20%, it confirmed today. Doubtlessly an effort to boost the launch of the machine and to make it more competitive with the Xbox 360 from Microsoft, the move will see the 20 gigabyte version of the PS3 sell for 49,980 yen ($430).

The decision was prompted by concern that the PS3's original price tag of 62,790 yen (£284) would push gamers towards cheaper machines made by Microsoft and Nintendo in what promises to be a bitter battle for supremacy in the game console market. The cheaper PS3, with a 20-gigabyte hard drive, will now cost ¥49,980 (£226) when it goes on sale in Japan on November 11, the company said.
Hirokazu Hamamura, president of the game magazine publisher Enterbrain, claims that even although the PS3 is still more expensive than its rivals, the price revision has put the machine within the allowable range of game machine prices.

The cut is good news for the PS3, which has been plagued with a series of launch problems. The console is still not expected to go on sale in Europe until March due to shortages of a key component for the Blu-ray DVD player, and Sony expects to ship only 2m PS3s in Japan by the end of the year, instead of 4m that was originally intended.

Sony is now adamant that no further delays will affect the launch of the product.