Sony slashes price on PlayStation Vita in Japan

Sony said Monday it was slashing the price on its hand-held PlayStation Vita console in Japan by as much as one-third as the electronics giant and its rivals face stiff competition from online games.

The company said its 3G/Wi-Fi model would sell for 19,980 yen ($210) from later this month, down from the current 29,980 yen, with the price of the Wi-Fi model also reduced to 19,980 yen from the current 24,980 yen.

Sony warned earlier this month over slow sales of the Vita. On Monday it said the price cut was designed to "make the platform more accessible than ever and will appeal to wider audiences looking to buy the model best suitable for their own game play style".

Sony, which is aiming to return to profitability after four years in the red, is expected later this month to announce the successor to its popular PlayStation 3 home game console.

Xbox maker Microsoft is also expected to unveil a new versions of its console. The consoles have been evolving into home entertainment hubs for films, television, music, social networking and more.

However, the once-mighty gaming firms are struggling to retain market share as they fend off a challenge from cheap -- or sometimes free -- downloadable games for smartphones and tablets.

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