The NewsFuror

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sony offers cut-price PlayStation

A cut price PlayStation 3 (PS3) with a smaller hard drive and no backwards compatibility with previous consoles goes on sale later this month.

The £299 PS3 has a 40-gigabyte hard disk and will be released in Europe, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

Sony has also slashed the price of the 60GB model from £425 to £349, as it hopes to ignite sales.

Ray Maguire, head of PlayStation UK, said he expected the PS3 user base to double by Christmas.

Mr Maguire said the release of the 40GB PS3 was a "strategic decision" and not the result of lower-than-expected sales of the PlayStation 3.

"We have done market research, looked at fans' forums and the feedback from consumers is that they are anxious to get into PlayStation 3 but it is too expensive," he told BBC News.

Sony was the market leader in the previous two generations of console releases. However, Nintendo is now in pole position closely followed by Microsoft's Xbox 360.

We want to get the console to the next level; we have re-engineered the machine to bring the price down
Ray Maguire, Sony

More than 5.5 million PlayStation 3 consoles have been shipped worldwide, compared with more than 10 million each of the Wii and Xbox 360.

He said he expected some existing PS3 owners to feel frustrated at the price cut for the 60GB model coming just six months after the machine was first launched.

The new PS3 will be unable to play PlayStation 1 and 2 games, has a reduced number of USB ports, from four to two connections, and no slots for memory cards. It goes on sale from 10 October.

"The cost of peripherals for adding USB connections and memory stick options is low," said Mr Maguire explaining the alterations.

He added: "Backwards compatibility was reasonably expensive for us to implement and taking it out enabled us to reduce the price."

The entry-level PS3 is now the same price as an Xbox 360 Elite, which has a 120GB hard drive.

Extra expense

However, the PS3 has built-in wi-fi connectivity and a high definition Blu-ray DVD player.

An add-on HD-DVD drive and wi-fi peripheral are available to Xbox 360 owners at extra expense.

The Nintendo Wii costs £179 but does not have high definition graphics or DVD playback, and relies instead on an innovative motion-sensitive control system.

There is no confirmation on the launch of the 40GB PS3 in North America and Japan, which have their own divergent models and price points.

Mr Maguire said: "The people who want to get into new technology early are prepared to pay a premium.

"We want to get the console to the next level; we have re-engineered the machine to bring the price down."

He added: "We have invested a lot of money in reaching this price point."

Sony is still losing money on each console sold, said Mr Maguire, but would lose less money on the 40GB machine.

"We are in an investment phase," he said

Sony was criticised last year when it unveiled its £425 price point for the PlayStation 3 with many analysts saying the firm would struggle to win over gamers.

"It has taken us that long to get the cost down, it's as simple as that," said Mr Maguire.

Musharraf to summon high level meeting next week

ISLAMABAD: President Pervez Musharraf will call a high level meeting next week to hold consultations for strategy after the presidential election till November 15, sources said.

Chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan would also meet the president in next week, sources added.

Nine Iraqi civilians killed in Baghdad bombings

BAGHDAD: At least nine Iraqi civilians were killed in bombings across Baghdad early Sunday, according to police.

About 7 a.m., three people were killed and four others were wounded when a roadside bomb targeting police patrols exploded near a minibus, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The incident took place in the neighborhood of Baladiyat in eastern Baghdad.

A half-hour later, in the neighborhood of Dora in southern Baghdad, a second roadside bomb targeting a U.S. patrol missed its target and killed three Iraqi civilians and wounded three others, police said.

And in the downtown commercial neighborhood of Salihiyah, a bomb planted in the back of the car parked near the Iranian embassy exploded about 8:30 a.m., killing three Iraqi civilians and wounding three others, according to police.

Suzuki Motorcycles, Pak Suzuki Motors’ merger approved

KARACHI: Suzuki Motorcycles Pakistan’s merger into Pak Suzuki Motors Company has been approved.

KSE released handout said that Suzuki Motorcycles’ owner of every two shares would get one share of Pak Suzuki Motors Company. It further said that the approval of the merger of Suzuki Motorcycles into Pak Suzuki Motors was obtained from the shareholders of the two companies besides Sindh High Court, which would be effective from October 1, 2007.

The merger process of the two companies would be completed this month by September 29 and on that very day Suzuki Motorcycles would be deleted from the KSE list.

Lindsay Lohan 'is out of rehab'

Actress Lindsay Lohan has checked out of rehab after two months of treatment, according to reports in the US media.

Celebrity magazine People says the 21-year-old has left the exclusive clinic in Utah where she has been staying since August.

"I'm proud of her," said the star's mother, Dina. "Things were getting out of control. She took action."

In August, Lohan admitted her life had become "unmanageable" because she was "addicted to alcohol and drugs".

She entered rehab in the weeks following her arrest for drink-driving in July.


The incident came shortly after a separate arrest in May when she lost control of her car and hit a kerb in Beverly Hills, California.

In both cases, she was found to be in possession of cocaine.

The actress was sentenced to one day in jail after pleading guilty to drink driving and drug charges as part of a plea bargain in August.

She was also put on three years' probation, and ordered to perform community service and complete a drug treatment programme.

In a statement, Lohan said the arrests had followed a "relapse" and that she was "ashamed" of her actions.

"No matter what I said when I was under the influence, I am not blaming anyone else for my conduct other than myself. I thank God I did not injure others, I easily could have," she added.

During her stay in rehab, Lohan was pictured bicycling and white water rafting. She was also visited by her father, from whom she has been estranged for several years.

The actress hit the big time aged 11 in The Parent Trap. She has also starred in films like Freaky Friday, Mean Girls and A Prairie Home Companion.

Powerful storm hits Chinese coast

A child is rescued from a home destroyed by a mudslide in Taiwan (06.10)
Typhoon Krosa battered Taiwan, uprooting trees and causing floods
A powerful storm has hit China's south-eastern coast, where more than one million people have been evacuated from their homes, state media reports.

Typhoon Krosa made landfall near the border of densely populated Zhejiang and Fujian provinces.

Initially bearing winds of 126km/h (78mph), Krosa has weakened to a tropical storm after coming ashore, Chinese officials say.

Five people were killed when the storm battered Taiwan on Saturday.

Fujian province has issued warnings of possible mud and rock slides.

About 27,000 fishing boats have been recalled to port and holidays for emergency workers have been cancelled, state media reports.

Schools have been closed and airline flights cancelled in the port city of Wenzhou, in Zhejiang province.

Strong winds, rainstorms and high tides are forecast.

China is nearing the end of a week-long national holiday, and more than 2,000 holidaymakers have been evacuated from island resorts.

Shanghai, where the Special Olympics are under way, has recalled all flood prevention workers as a precaution in case the typhoon heads further north.

Typhoon Krosa is the 16th typhoon to hit China this year, official Xinhua news agency reports.

Flooding and landslides

In northern Taiwan, torrential downpours from Typhoon Krosa caused flooding and landslides.

At least five people are reported to have died in storm related accidents and more than 52 people have been injured.

More than one metre of rain fell in places, and wind gusts of more than 185km/h (115mph) were recorded.

In Taiwan's capital, Taipei, more than 200 trees were uprooted and several floods reported.

Power supplies and transport services were seriously affected.

The BBC's Caroline Gluck in Taipei says Krosa's sprawling 300km (186 mile) radius ensured its strength was felt across the island.

Meanwhile, Vietnamese officials said at least 40 people had died as a result of Typhoon Lekima, which struck earlier this week, and more than 20 are still missing.

Disaster officials estimate the cost of the damage in Vietnam at more than $40m.