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PlayStation Besting Saturn This Holiday

High-end console-game shoppers are showing a marked preference for the Sony PlayStation over its chief competitor, Sega Saturn this holiday season. Sony has announced sales of 300,000 PlayStations since its September launch; Sega, which launched the Saturn four months earlier, has sold only 130,000 units.

Both companies have been running aggressive advertising and promotional campaigns. Sony has put up interactive displays in Blockbuster Video stores, where customers can try out games before they rent, and possibly be inspired to buy. The company has also been demonstrating PlayStations and games during a 4-month, 17-leg national tour of shopping malls that began in September.

Sega launched Saturn with a $50 million marketing campaign in May. In October, with Sony's breath already hot on its neck, Sega dropped the price by $100 of its system core pack to $299 (the PlayStation debut price) in an effort to lure holiday shoppers.

But Sony's strategy to cut exclusive deals with publishers of hot titles like Mortal Kombat 3 have apparently given the company an edge. Analysts cite PlayStation's superior selection of games as the most significant factor in the sales gap between it and the Saturn.