Sony to sweeten PS2 online bundle

The $199 PS2 and Network Adapter bundle--now called the PlayStation 2 Combo Pack--will come with a free game, while the stand-alone PS2 will stay at $179.

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Sony Computer Entertainment America has announced a new pricing structure to prepare for the coming holiday season. The key change comes with the $199 Network Adapter and PS2 bundle announced at E3 in May. In a move said to be effective immediately, the $199 bundle will be called the PlayStation 2 Combo Pack and include a free game: ATV Offroad Fury 2. The PS2 console will continue to sell by itself for $179. Sony will soon launch a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to promote these changes.

"As we moved past the 20-million-unit sales milestone this summer, it is clear, through our ability to attract a broad audience, that the PlayStation 2 has become an even stronger focal point of the living room entertainment experience," said Jack Tretton, executive vice president at SCEA. "Preparing for the holidays, we know that in order to grow this massive base, we must continue to engage new users through great gaming content, consumer-friendly pricing, and new technology. The new PlayStation 2 pricing plan will ensure sustained demand for PlayStation products overall and help drive a strong year for the category, particularly during the key selling season."

Next week is the one-year anniversary of the PS2 Network Adapter's introduction, and the bundle changes are an indication of Sony's efforts to further expand the number of online-ready PlayStation 2s. To date, more than 750,000 Network Adapters have been sold in North America. The company hinted that it is planning to introduce a series of technology and content enhancements for the online PlayStation 2 community.

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