Sony PS3 shortage looms

NEW YORK Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:01pm EDT

A man uses an electronic device near boxes of Sony Corp Playstation 3 videogame consoles at an electronics retailer in Tokyo October 29, 2008. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

A man uses an electronic device near boxes of Sony Corp Playstation 3 videogame consoles at an electronics retailer in Tokyo October 29, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sales of the PlayStation 3 video game console jumped in the weeks after a $100 price cut last month, Sony Corp's top PlayStation executive said on Wednesday.

"We are up about 300 percent over where we were pre-price drop," Jack Tretton, chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment of America, said in an interview. "We are up significantly versus last year."

The increase represents sales of the console in the three weeks after Sony slashed the price of the PS3 -- whose sales have lagged behind Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii and Microsoft Corp's Xbox -- to about $300 in the United States last month, compared with sales for the three weeks before.

A few days after Sony's price cut, Microsoft dropped the price of its Xbox 360 Elite to $299.

Tretton said he expects the price cuts and a lineup of popular games due ahead of the Christmas holiday will lift the entire video game industry, following some six months of sales declines.

"In a very difficult economy, I couldn't be more optimistic about our fortunes for the rest of the year and for the future," he said.

But he noted that higher demand for the PS3 could leave some retailers out of stock.

"If things continue at this pace, it is conceivable that there will be product shortages," Tretton said.

(Reporting by Franklin Paul, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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