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Sony Slashes 40GB PS3 Price To $399

Sony Computer Entertainment officially slashed the price of its 40GB PlayStation3 multimedia gaming console, from $499 to $399, setting a new opening price point for Blu-ray Disc players.

At the same time, the company also reduced the price of the 80GB version to $499 in North America, effective immediately.

The price moves follow similar actions taken earlier in Japan and Europe.

The PlayStation3 remains the largest-selling high-defenition disc player, having topped sales of 1.75 million units since its launch last November, but it ranks third in a three-player next-generation video game console race behind the Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360.

The price step is aimed at delivering a more competitive high-definition disc player to compete with opening price point HD DVD players, which are offered below $300, as well presenting a more competitive gaming console option for holiday gift purchases. The Xbox 360 sells for $349 while the Wii is priced at $299.

The new version of the 40GB PlayStation3 will arrive in stores later this month, and will come bundled with a Blu-ray Disc version of “Spider-Man 3.”