Sony Cuts PlayStation Price in Japan to Maintain Momentum

Sony Corp. is cutting the Japanese price of its PlayStation 4 console by about 13 percent as the company tries to maintain a sales lead through the year-end holiday shopping season. Shares fell in Germany.

The cost of the machine will drop to as low as 34,980 yen ($293) on Oct. 1 from the current 39,980 yen, Sony said Tuesday. Its virtual-reality headset also will be renamed PlayStation VR from the current Project Morpheus.

President Kazuo Hirai considers the PlayStation a centerpiece of his plan for reviving profit at the electronics maker. Sony has retaken the sales lead from Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One by offering more titles and courting independent game developers.

“We decided to cut the price to keep up sales momentum,” said Makiko Noda, a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment. “PlayStation hardware is selling well, and there are game titles fans in Japan are looking forward to coming out soon.”

Sony previously said it would sell a Darth Vader-themed version of the console to capitalize on the release of the latest “Star Wars” film in December. The announcements come as Apple Inc. prepares to sell a more gamer-friendly Apple TV next month.

Stock Tumbles

Sony shares fell 1.8 percent in Tokyo before the announcement, narrowing their gains to 24 percent this year. German-traded shares declined 1.2 percent as of midday.

In July, Sony raised its full-year sales target for PS4 consoles to 16.5 million units from the earlier 16 million. Profit in the business more than quadrupled in the fiscal first quarter to 19.5 billion yen as sales gained 12 percent to 288.6 billion yen.

The PS4 has outsold the Xbox One since each model was released in late 2013. Sony will have sold 34 million machines by the end of this year, compared with 20 million Xbox Ones, according to researcher IHS Inc.

“The impression is that domestic sales were relatively weak compared with overseas,” said Junya Ayada, an analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc. “PlayStation is in the lead abroad, so no need to cut prices there unless Xbox makes the first move.”