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Sony bets on initial PS4 sales outstripping predecessor by 40 percent

Sony Corp's logo is seen at the company headquarters in Tokyo May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai
Sony Corp's logo is seen at the company headquarters in Tokyo May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp is betting on initial Playstation 4 sales to be 40 percent higher than its last home game console which cost more to build and buy, raising the prospect of quicker return to help revive its consumer electronics business.

The console goes on sale at almost the same time as Microsoft Corp's Xbox One, and is the new flagship product for a gaming division that, along with cameras and mobile devices, is at the core of a plan to reinvigorate a business long weighed down by loss-incurring televisions.

Sony is targeting PS4 sales of 5 million machines between its November 15 United States launch and the end of the company's financial year on March 31, President and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc Andrew House said in a presentation at the Tokyo Game Show on Thursday.

That compares with 3.6 million PS3 units sold over a similar time frame seven years earlier.

Making the PS4 target appear even more ambitious is that a Japan release date of February 22 gives sales there just over a month to contribute.

Preorders totaled 1 million as of August.

Using existing rather than custom-made components for the PS4 "has enabled us to reduce the scale of investment significantly, massively so in comparison to the PS3," House told Reuters in an interview after the presentation.

It took four years for the PS3 to become profitable. Sony expects the PS4 to be profitable "significantly sooner."

The PS4 has "a more attractive price," House said.

It will initially retail at $399 in the U.S. compared with $599 for the PS3 and $499 for the Xbox One, which goes on sale in the U.S. a week later.

Shares of Sony closed 0.28 percent lower; Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 Index ended 1.8 percent higher.

Sony, like Microsoft, has extended its latest console further beyond gaming by making it a living room entertainment hub controlling movies, television and internet content.

Microsoft's Phil Spencer, in charge of Xbox content, on Wednesday told Reuters the Xbox business would soon unveil television projects, following on from an agreement to produce a television series of its popular Halo game in collaboration with Steven Spielberg.

House said Sony's game division is working with Sony Pictures to develop content that it could offer the 150 million Playstation network subscribers. Those projects, however, may remain in the pipeline longer than at its U.S. competitor.

"I don't think we are going to push the market," House said when asked if Sony would announce new content before the end of the year.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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