Sony to launch new PlayStation 2 model in Japan

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TOKYO, Nov 6 (Reuters) Sony Corp said it plans to launch a lighter version of its PlayStation 2 game console later this month, in a bid to drive sales of the seven-year-old machine heading into the crucial holiday season.

The new model, which has a built-in AC adaptor, weighs 720 grams (25.40 ounces), down from a combined weight of 850 grams (29.98 ounces) for the previous model and its external AC adaptor.

Since the new machine's power cord comes without a bulky AC adaptor, it would be easier for gamers to enjoy the PS2 anywhere at home, Sony's game unit said on Tuesday.

It will go on sale in Japan on Nov. 22 for 16,000 yen (0), unchanged from the price of the previous model. The timing for overseas launches has yet to be decided.

Maintaining brisk demand for the PS2 is just as important for Sony as shoring up sales of its latest game machine, the PlayStation 3, as the PS2, which has sold more than 120 million untis worldwide, is a cash cow for the game unit.

Sony appears set to reap larger profit from each PS2 it sells since the game unit said it had managed to reduce manufacturing costs for the latest PS2 model from those for the previous model.

The Tokyo-based electronics and entertainment conglomerate currently loses money for each PS3 it sells.

Even after the launch late last year of the PS3, which trails Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii in sales, the PS2 has staged strong sales globally due to a wide range of strong software titles and relatively low prices.

The basic version of the PS3 sells for 44,980 yen, nearly three times as expensive as the PS2.

Sony aims to sell 12 million units of the PS2 in the year to March, while targeting the PS3 sales of 11 million units.

REUTERS BJR DS1417

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