VIDEO GAME SYSTEM PRICES CUT IN TIME FOR E3 SHOW

LOS ANGELES -- With price cuts and new handheld units, video game competition is poised to heat up. As the video game industry gathered here this month for the 10th Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, leading game companies made significant announcements both at the show and in the weeks leading up to it.am Racing 2," "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge," and "Counter Strike," among

LOS ANGELES -- With price cuts and new handheld units, video game competition is poised to heat up. As the video game industry gathered here this month for the 10th Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, leading game companies made significant announcements both at the show and in the weeks leading up to it.

am Racing 2," "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge," and "Counter Strike," among others.

Reacting to Microsoft, Sony's PlayStation 2 system and combo pack were priced at $149 as of May 11, the company said in a statement during the show. The combo pack includes the PlayStation 2 console, an Ethernet/modem connection and a copy of the online-enabled game, "ATV Offroad Fury 2."

Sony also unveiled a new portable entertainment player at the show, the PlayStationPortable (PSP). The handheld videogame system is scheduled to launch in Japan by the end of this year, followed by North America and Europe in the spring of 2005.

Long-time leader in portable games Nintendo, Redmond, Wash., unveiled a prototype for a dual screen portable device at E3. The Nintendo DS is set to launch in Japan and North America before the end of this year, and in Europe during the first quarter of 2005, according to company statements. The official name, price and launch information for the system have not yet been announced.

TOP 5 SUPERMARKET VIDEO SELL-THROUGH TITLES

Rank, Last Week: Title (Weeks Out); Studio; DVD Retail

1, N: The Last Samurai; Warner; $29.95

2, N: Peter Pan; Universal; $26.98

3, 1: Big Fish (1); Columbia; $28.95

4, N: Calendar Girls (1); Buena Vista; $29.99

5, 3: Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World (2); Fox; $29.98

N = New

As of May 9, 2004

This chart, tailored for the supermarket video market, is based on information taken from more than 1,000 supermarket rental locations serviced by Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.