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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 09:04 GMT 10:04 UK
Sony shrinks PlayStation console
By Alfred Hermida
BBC News Online technology editor

PlayStation 2
The new model is much smaller than the existing console
The best-selling PlayStation 2 games console has been given a makeover, with a new slimmed-down, lightweight model due to go on sale in November.

The new PS2 is about half the size of the existing model and will sell for the same price of 149 euros (99).

Sony has launched it in an attempt to widen the console's appeal and prolong its shelf-life.

Sales of the original PlayStation were boosted when Sony introduced a smaller version, dubbed the PSOne.

Going after sales

The redesign is part of Sony's strategy to maintain the PS2's lead over rival consoles.

Some 24 million machines have been sold in the PAL territories - Europe, the Middle East and Africa - since its launch November 2000.

NEW PLAYSTATION 2
Slim PS2 versus the existing PS2
Internal volume reduced by 75%
Size: 28x2.8x15.2cm
Weight: 900g
External power supply
Built-in Ethernet adapter
The PS2 accounts for two-thirds of the consoles in these regions, according to Sony.

But traditionally console sales start to slip after they have been around for a few years and the PS2 is no exception.

Sony Computer aims to sell 14m PS2s in the year to March 2005, down from the peak sales of 22.52m units sold in 2003.

But Sony is determined to keep the PS2 alive. In August it dropped the price to 99, resulting in a jump in sales.

It is now hoping the thinner, sleeker design will tempt more people to buy a console, especially in the run-up to Christmas.

David Reeves, president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, told BBC News Online that Sony was hoping that the price cut and redesign would increase PS2 sales worldwide by 15% by March 2005.

He said Sony was flying in more than four million new PS2s into the PAL territories straight from the manufacturing plant in Shanghai to meet expected demand.

Thinner, lighter

The new PS2 is mostly identical to current models. But the internal volume has been reduced by 75%, meaning it is half the weight and less than half the thickness of the existing console.

PlayStation 2
Sony has sold more than six million PS2s in the UK
This has been partly achieved by using an external power supply.

It also now comes with a built-in Ethernet port to allow gamers to play online.

The redesigned console is due to come on sale on 1 November, at the same price as the current model.

Sony is expected to unveil its next generation PlayStation at the annual E3 video games trade show in Los Angeles in May 2005.

It has not said when the new games machine will go on sale, but the PS2 went on sale in Japan almost a year after it was first unveiled.

Rivals Microsoft and Nintendo are also working on new consoles, which could also be unveiled at E3 show.




SEE ALSO:
New PlayStation set for May debut
12 Jul 04  |  Technology
Gaming pleasures to come
16 May 04  |  Technology
PlayStation 'wins next gen wars'
09 Mar 04  |  Technology
Game console sales start to slip
26 Nov 03  |  Technology
PlayStation fights falling sales
24 Jul 03  |  Technology
Next gen consoles spark concern
28 Aug 03  |  Technology
Game graphics hit their limits
30 Aug 03  |  Technology
Playstation 2 is 'console champion'
30 Oct 02  |  Technology


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