Gaming Consoles Gear up for the Holidays

By Ian Paul, PC World |  Personal Tech, games, playstation 3

The Holidays are just around the corner, and gaming console makers hope to make 2009 a record-setting year. The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii have all dropped their prices in recent weeks. There are also new motion-control innovations in the pipeline from Sony and Microsoft, and Nintendo hopes its Wii will hang on with the revival of its most popular video game hero.

Sony PlayStation 3

The first move came from Sony with an August launch of a trimmer PlayStation 3 -- called PS3 Slim -- with a bigger hard drive (120 GB) and a cheaper price. Sony pegged the PS3 Slim's price at $300 -- a $100 price drop compared to the PS3's non-Slim 80GB model.   Sony is also phasing out the 80GB and 160GB versions of the PS3, and cut those devices to $300 and $400 respectively.

Adding future value, Sony is planning on introducing a motion controller to the PS3 by next spring. The new device will let you control 3D objects on your screen like baseball bats, swords, and tennis rackets, but the controller is supposed to be more advanced than controllers for the Nintendo Wii. Rumors of a PS2 emulator for the PlayStation 3 have also been revived.

Around the same time as the motion controller release, Final Fantasy XIII -- exclusive to the PS3 -- will launch in the United States. A firm release date isn't set yet, but the game is being released in Japan on December 17, and it should land on American shores a few months after that.

Microsoft Xbox 360

Not to be outdone by Sony, Microsoft tuned up the Xbox 360 lineup a few weeks ago by seeing the PS3's price cut and raising the stakes in motion controllers. Microsoft discontinued the Xbox P360 Pro model and cut the price by $50 to $250. The Xbox 360 Elite was dropped by $100 to $300 (until October 5 you can get the Elite for $250), and the Xbox 360 Arcade stays the same at $200.

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