Sony adds remote control to PlayStation 2

Aiming to make life easier for people who use its PlayStation 2 game console as a DVD Video player, Sony will ship an upgraded version of the machine with a bundled remote control unit.

          Aiming to make life easier for people who use its PlayStation 2 game console as a DVD Video player, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEI) in December is scheduled to start shipping in Japan an upgraded version of the machine with a bundled remote control unit.

          A new version of the console, the SCPH-18000, will go on sale in Japan from December 8 with a remote control that can be used to control the DVD functions of the machine, SCEI said in a statement. The PlayStation 2 game disks are based on DVD technology which means the player can also be used to watch DVD movies. The new machine will cost 39,800 yen (US$362), SCEI said.

          For customers that have bought the first version of the machine, a remote control add-on option consisting of the controller and infrared sensor units is available separately. The pack, SCPH-10170, will hit the shelves of Japanese stores on December 22 and cost 3,500 yen, SCEI said. The remote control functionality is added by attaching an infrared sensor module into one of the game controller sockets.

          Sales of DVD Video disks have surged in Japan since the PlayStation 2 first went on sale earlier this year and many credit the console with kicking off the boom in sales. Sales of the console are well above those of standalone DVD players.

          In the first nine months of the year, shipments of conventional DVD Video players in Japan totaled 465,000 or just over double the number in the same period last year, according to figures from the Japan Electronics and Information Technologies Industry Association (JEITA). In contrast, the PlayStation 2 sold 720,000 consoles in its first weekend on sale and by the beginning of August Japanese shipments had totaled 3 million, according to data from SCEI.

          SCEI, in Tokyo, can be contacted via the Web at http://www.scei.co.jp/.

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