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Microsoft will cut price on Xbox game console

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SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft Corp. is hoping to draw a broader audience to its Xbox game console — and away from rival Sony's PlayStation 2 — by cutting its price by $30.

The Redmond-based company said Monday it would begin selling its Xbox for $149.99 in the United States. It is making a similar price reduction in Canada and dropping the Xbox price by about $45 in Mexico.

Microsoft also said it was dropping prices on several games and on its Xbox Music Mixer software, which turns an Xbox into a karaoke machine. The cuts take effect today.

The company said it wants to attract a wider variety of potential buyers, beyond just hard-core gamers. Microsoft, better known for its business software and operating systems, is competing fiercely with Sony's PlayStation 2, the industry leader.

Teresa Weaver, a spokeswoman for Sony Computer Entertainment America, said Sony has not announced any price reduction plans for PlayStation 2, which sells for about $180.

"Considering that we are the market leader we are not inclined to react to competitive moves," she said.

Sony says it has shipped more than 70 million PlayStation 2 game consoles worldwide. That compares with 13.7 million Xbox consoles shipped worldwide as of the end of last year.

Microsoft's other main rival, Nintendo, said it has sold almost 15 million units worldwide of its GameCube, which costs about $100.

The Xbox originally was priced at $299 in the United States.