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Sony Playstation 4 to hit U.S. shelves Nov. 15

COLOGNE, Germany - Sony will start selling the PlayStation 4 in the United States on Nov. 15, just before the holiday shopping season, as the company moves to lure consumers away from playing on smartphones and tablet computers.

The player, Sony's first new console in seven years, will initially be available in 32 countries, Sony Computer Entertainment chief executive  Andrew House said in Cologne, Germany, before the annual Gamescom, Europe's biggest game conference. Tokyo-based Sony unveiled the console in June at E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

New players from Sony and Microsoft  are coming out during an industry shift toward mobile, made popular by Apple's iPhone and Facebook's social-gaming platform. Console makers are betting faster machines with new features, from motion capture to immersive graphics, will entice consumers to spend on hardware as well as games.

Sony Tuesday also lowered the price on its Vita handheld console to $199 from $250. In Europe, the new price is 267, Jim Ryan, chief executive of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, said at the event.

He also said the company has forged partnerships in Europe with Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Virgin Media and Ono to sell fast Internet service tailored for video-game players.

Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One console in May, with plans to begin sales in November in 21 countries. Last week, the Redmond, Wash.-based company cut the number to 13 to ensure larger markets have sufficient supplies.

Nintendo Co. began selling its most recent console, the Wii U, in November. It sold 160,000 units of the player in the three months ended in June, pushing the total to 3.6 million since its debut in November. In April, the company forecast sales of 9 million in the year ending next March.

Gamescom, due to host more than 275,000 attendees this year according to its organizers, runs from Thursday through Sunday.

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