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Surprise PS3 news from TGS [update 4]

Vladimir Cole
Right after delivering a keynote address that can best be described as uneventful, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Ken Kutaragi was interviewed by a well-known Japanese reporter and let drop two new details that Kutaragi called "secrets."

First: the basic PlayStation 3 will retail for under ¥50,000 in Japan, 5% consumption tax included. Kutaragi quoted a price of ¥49,800 for the console. The announcement met with more enthusiastic applause from the audience than anything said or shown during the keynote in the hour prior. Does this indicate that the PS3 may be up for a price reduction in the United States? (In today's dollars, ¥49,800 yen is approximately $425 USD. The same version of the PS3 has been priced at $499 in the US.)

Second: In answer to a question about HD capability, Kutaragi noted that in the days since the E3 press conference, "the importance of HDMI has come earlier than expected." At the time of E3, no television included HDMI support, said Kutaragi. In the months since, however, HDMI has solidified and has been introduced to more products. Therefore, Sony has decided to include HDMI in the console.

[Update 1: fixed a typo, added photograph.]

[Updates 2, 3: Sony just posted this press release confirming the price drop (Japan only) and HDMI-support. Word in the press room is that HDMI support for the lower-priced console is worldwide. The press release is in Japanese only for now.]

[Update 4: Sony has just released an English-language translation of the same information. Click "continue" below for the full text of that release.]

Press release from Sony:

"PLAYSTATION(R)3 HDD 20GB Equipped With HDMI as Standard

Recommended Retail Price of 49,980 Yen (Tax Included) in Japan

TOKYO, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI)
today announced that PLAYSTATION(R)3 (PS3) with 20GB hard disk drive (HDD)
will come equipped with HDMI(*) (Ver 1.3/supporting Deep Color) output as
standard with the system. PS3 with 20GB HDD will become available in Japan at
a new recommended retail price of 49,980 yen (tax included).
(Logo: )
Since SCEI first announced product specifications of PS3 at the Electronic
Entertainment Expo (E3) in May 2005, demand for enjoying full HD quality image
and realistic digital sound through HDMI has grown tremendously. Given the
sharp increase in availability of flat displays supporting HDMI in the market,
SCEI has decided to equip HDMI as standard on all PS3 systems.
SCEI, with strong support from software developers and publishers, will
offer a broad lineup of exciting and innovative titles and vigorously promote
the PS3 platform.
(*) High-Definition Multimedia Interface

About Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. continues to redefine the
entertainment lifestyle with its PS one(TM) game console, PlayStation(R)2
computer entertainment system, PSP(R) (PlayStation(R)Portable) system and the
upcoming, much-anticipated PLAYSTATION(R)3 computer entertainment system.
Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment
America Inc. markets the PlayStation family of products and develops,
publishes, markets and distributes software for PS one game console,
PlayStation 2 computer entertainment system and PSP system for the North
American market. Based in Foster City, Calif., Sony Computer Entertainment
America Inc. serves as regional headquarters for all North American operations
and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. More
information can be found online at"

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