Sony has dropped the price of its PlayStation 2 console to $399.95.
The $100 reduction is sure to make waves in the highly competitive games market. The move will bring the price of the machine in Australia in line with that of the US, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCE). But it is likely that it is also a reaction to drastic price drops from competing consoles.
Microsoft announced price cuts its Xbox console just over a month after the product launched in Australia, while Nintendo dropped the price of its GameCube before the product even hit shelves. The products now retail for $399 and $329, respectively.
"At the new purchase price, the PlayStation 2 is the best-value games console available, with DVD movie playback straight out of the box," said SCE managing director Michael Ephraim.
PS2 sales have held their own again Microsoft's Xbox thanks to software bundles with top games titles such as Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy X. Xbox sales spiked in May after Microsoft's dramatic price reduction, but by the end of the month had evened out to around 3,500 units per week, according to market analyst Inform.
Inform analyst Phil Burnham said the quality of the software will now continue to drive sales in the face of similar price points.
"This is an area that the PS2 has a lead, due to the fact it has been around for 18 months and is backward compatible with the original PlayStation software," he said in a report. But Burnham also believes the Xbox and the GameCube have the advantage of "technological superiority", which will ensure their future success.
PlayStation 2 consoles have sold 30 million units globally, according to SCE. Around 160 million PS2 software titles have shipped worldwide.