PS3 to sell for under $500?

Japanese newspaper quotes Sony officials as saying they are aiming for a mid-level price point for the next-generation console.

After the impact of Monday's PlayStation 3 unveiling wore off, gamers began to start asking questions. Besides lingering doubts about whether or not many of the tech demos were actually of in-game footage, the biggest point of debate was the next-generation console's price.

Given that the console's Nvidia tech-based RSX "Reality Synthesizer" graphics chip is more powerful than two GeForce 6800 Ultra video cards, which retail for around $1,000 by themselves, many suspected the console will cost as least as much as a medium-end gaming PC. However, Sony will have to be competitively priced or risk being undercut by the Microsoft Xbox 360 or Nintendo Revolution.

It now appears that Sony may opt for a compromise price-wise, according to the Mainichi Daily News. An article that ran on the Japanese newspaper's Web site said that the PlayStation 3 could potentially sell for under $500. "The new machine, which will have a higher performance capacity than personal computers and provide sophisticated movie-quality images, will be priced at less than 50,000 yen each, according to [Sony] officials," said the paper.

At today's exchange rate, 50,000 yen is $465.58--more than the $299 many expect the Xbox 360 to sell for, but less than the $699 to $799 PS3 price tag many had feared. If Sony follows the pattern it set with the PSP, which sells for around $190 in Japan and $249 in the US, the console will likely be slightly costlier stateside.

As of press time, Sony officials were unavailable for comment on the Mainichi Daily News article.

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