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Sony drops PS3 price to $249

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The 2011 holiday price wars have begun.

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Playstation 3 (Sony)

During the Gamescom event in Germany on Tuesday, Sony cut the global price of the PlayStation 3 from $299 to $249, positioning the company for a tremendous holiday season. The price drop is effective immediately.

"Overall, our strategy is to provide the best entertainment experience at an excellent price," said Andrew House, incoming president and group CEO at Sony Computer Entertainment International.

The 160 GB model will carry the low price, while the 320GB model will be trimmed $80 and sell for $299.

Analysts had expected Sony to cut the price of the PS3 this year, though they were somewhat unclear on when it would do so. Many also predict Microsoft will lower the price of the Xbox 360 before the holiday shopping season begins. Nintendo slashed Wii prices to $150 in May.

Regardless of what happens with Microsoft, though, the price cut could make the PS3 the system to beat this holiday season. The momentum from the cut, along with the company's strongest software lineup in years, makes it an early frontrunner. Among the big-name exclusive titles coming to the system in the next few months are Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, with a long-awaited Twisted Metal game due in early 2012.

It's a much-needed blast of good news for fans of the console and marks something of a comeback for the company, who started off 2011 at one of the lowest points in its history. An April security breach saw personal information stolen from more than 100 million accounts and resulted in a shutdown of the PlayStation Network for nearly a month.

Before Tuesday's announcement, Sony hadn't cut prices for nearly two years, when it dropped the PS3 from $399 to $299 and introduced the Slim model.

"While others in the space are losing steam, PlayStation 3 is gaining momentum and giving gamers everywhere more of what they want," said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America in a blog post.

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