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Sony takes on Microsoft, prices new PS4 below Xbox One

The new Xbox One controller (R), next to the previous controller during a press event unveiling Microsoft's new Xbox One in Redmond, Washing
The new Xbox One controller (R), next to the previous controller during a press event unveiling Microsoft's new Xbox One in Redmond, Washing

By Malathi Nayak

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sony Corp on Monday priced its latest PlayStation 4 console $100 lower than the new Xbox One by rival Microsoft Corp as competition for gamers' pockets intensifies ahead of the year-end holidays and gift-giving season.

Sony said it would sell the latest PlayStation model for $399 late in the year shortly after Microsoft announced a $499 price tag for its first new Xbox in eight years and said it would go on sale in the United States in November.

Sony also drew cheers from the audience at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles when it said the PS4 would run second-hand games and did not require an always-on Internet connection.

Microsoft had earlier elicited groans from gamers when it announced restrictions on used games for the Xbox One and said players had to log onto the Internet for authentication.

"The PlayStation 4 won't impose any new restrictions on used games," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America as the audience whistled and applauded.

Microsoft and Sony hope the consoles will attract new fans and retain users who are increasingly playing games on smartphones and other mobile devices, gradually diminishing the $66 billion video game business. Both companies are also offering more entertainment options.

The Xbox 360 is currently the best-selling gaming console in the United States, but global sales are almost on par with the PlayStation 3.

The new Xbox and PlayStation are both pricier than the $300 Wii U which Nintendo Co Ltd launched late last year but which has sold poorly, partly due to a dearth of new gaming titles. Nintendo is expected to announce new games for the device at the E3 on Tuesday.

Sony did not give details about original programming content for the PS4 but said new game titles would include Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag by Ubisoft and Kingdom Hearts III by Disney Interactive Studios and Square Enix Holdings Co Ltd.

"It's a very compelling price... given the entertainment PS4 will provide to gamers," Sony Computer Entertainment President and CEO Andrew House told the E3 event.

The Xbox One is costlier than the current Xbox 360 and includes a Kinect motion sensor for hands-free game playing. Microsoft also announced several exclusive game titles, including a rendition of 'Minecraft' and a new installment in the popular 'Halo' franchise, which will be released in 2014.

The device will go on sale in 21 countries, including Britain, before the year-end holidays, the company said. Yusuf Mehdi, an executive at Microsoft's interactive entertainment unit, did not set any sales targets for the new Xbox.

(Writing by Bill Rigby; Editing by Gary Hill and Miral Fahmy)

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