Move follows Nintendo's 40% price cut

Tokyo — Sony is slashing the price of its PlayStation 3 game consoles on Thursday.

In North America, its PS3 with a 160GB hard drive will drop from $299 to $249 while the 320GB model will fall from $349 to $299.

It’s instituting similar price cuts in Europe and Japan.

The move follows rival Nintendo’s decision last Thursday to hack prices by 40% from $325 to $195 in Japan, causing sales on its 3DS handheld to rocket.

In the week to Sunday, Nintendo moved 214,821 units in Japan, compared with 32,381 in the week through July 24, according to figures compiled by gaming mag publisher Enterbrain.

The huge hike was also driven by the release of a hotly anticipated Pokemon game title.

Sony has sold nearly 50 million PS3s worldwide since its 2006 launch to March.

As of June, 2,495 PS3 package software titles were on the shelves as well as 3,100 titles available for download at the Sony Store.

In related news, Sony has also announced the launch of applications for its new PlayStation Vita handheld for Facebook, foursquare, Skype and Twitter, available for free download at the Sony Store.

Sony will announce the Vita’s release dates at the Sept. 15-18 Tokyo Game Show.

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