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Sony cuts price of Vita handheld games console in Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sony Corp on Monday slashed the price of its struggling Vita handheld games console in Japan in a bid to spur sales of the device as gamers switch to free or cheap games played on tablet computers and smartphones.

The maker of Playstation consoles trimmed the price of its 3G Wifi version by 10,000 yen ($110) to 19,980 yen, with all other models also reduced, it said in a statement.

Tablets and smartphones are encroaching on the gaming market, with handheld consoles in particular suffering. Sony this month trimmed its forecast for handheld sales, including the Vita and older PSP, to 7 million machines in the year ending March 31 compared with an estimate of 16 million at the start of the business term.

The Vita price comes ahead of a rare Playstation gathering in New York on February 20, when Sony is expected to reveal the successor to its Playstation 3 home console.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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