By Daniel Emery
Technology reporter, BBC News, Cologne
Sony computer entertainment president, Europe Andy House explains why the media giant has made the move
Sony Entertainment has announced it is reducing the price of its PlayStation 3 games consoles.
In Europe the price has been lowered to 299 euros, in the US to $299 and in the UK to £249.99.
Sony made the announcement at a press conference ahead of the 2009 games convention - gamescom - in Cologne.
It also announced it was ending production of its current PlayStation 3 console in favour of a new lighter, slimmer model with a 120GB hard drive.
Growth of the PlayStation 3 has been slow compared to previous launches, which critics put down, in part, to an expensive price tag compared with its rivals, Microsoft's Xbox 360 from £129 and the Nintendo Wii at £169.
Speaking at gamescom, Sony Entertainment's head, Kaz Hirai, said the change in price for existing PlayStation 3 stock would happen immediately and that the new slim-line PS3 would be available from the first week of September.
"It has the same features and functionality [as the old PS3], but now it is 32% smaller, 36% lighter and consumes 34% less power," he said.
Sony's computer entertainment boss Kaz Hirai displays a thin PS3
Mr Hirai said Cologne's gamescom was now the third major date for the games industry, ranking up alongside E3 in Los Angeles and the Tokyo games show.
Sony said there were now more than 23.7m PS3 installed worldwide, with just over 10m of those in Europe.
Sony also said it was expanding its catch-up TV service - which includes the BBC iPlayer.
It announced it was about to launch a video delivery service, via the PlayStation Network, that would allow PS3 or PlayStation Portable (PSP) users to rent or purchase movies - both blockbuster and local market - in either standard or high definition.
That service goes live in the UK, France, Germany and Spain this November and rolls out across Europe throughout 2010.
The event also provided a first look at a new digital reader for the PSP - called Digital Comics - that will allow users to read Spiderman, Fantastic 4 and other Marvel comics on their portable, along with a range of graphic novels.
However, the new motion Sony Controller - which made its debut at the E3 Expo in Los Angeles in June this year - was not on show, with Sony saying people will have to wait until the Tokyo games show in September before it gets another public viewing.
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