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Sony to sell 80-gigabyte PlayStation 3 machines in South Korea

TOKYO (AP) – Sony’s PlayStation 3 video game console will come with a beefed up 80-gigabyte hard-disk drive in South Korea, and that model is being considered for the U.S. and other markets, a company official said Wednesday.

The PlayStation 3, which competes against Nintendo Co.’s Wii and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360, now comes with a 60-gigabyte hard drive. A 20-gigabyte version, which has been discontinued in the U.S., still sells in Japan and some other regions.

”Increasing capacity for models is one of the options,” said Satoshi Fukuoka, spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. ”We make such decisions depending on the needs of the market, and every country is different.”

The 80-gigabyte version will start selling June 16 in South Korea, where online games are enormously popular and broadband connections are more widespread, Fukuoka said. Broadband can enhance some games, and players can also download features for games from the Internet.

No decision has been made on other markets, although the company is considering selling it in the U.S. and elsewhere, he said.

Sony isn’t expecting to post a profit in its game business until the fiscal year ending March 2009.

Earlier this month, Sony reported losses for the January-March quarter widened from the same period a year ago to 67.6 billion yen (US$555 million; euro413 million) in red ink, largely on PS3 launch costs. But it projects net profit in the current fiscal year to grow to a record 320 billion yen (US$2.7 billion; euro2 billion).

The machine went on sale in November in Japan and the U.S., and in March in Europe.

Sony shipped 5.5 million PS3 machines in the fiscal year through March 31, fewer than the 6 million the company had targeted. Nintendo shipped 5.84 million Wii machines worldwide during the same period.

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