The festive seasons of Diwali and Christmas herald launch time for Gaming companies (I can visualise a timer counting down the seconds to launch), and after two Microsoft dominated festive seasons – what with the launch of the XBox 360 (2006) and XBox Live (2007), Sony is preparing for the two launches this year. They’ll launch the fourth version of the PlayStation 2 (PS2 v4) around Diwali, priced the same as the previous version at Rs. 6990, and the PlayStation Network, similar to XBox Live, before the end of the year, reports ET.

The significance of the PS2 is in its pricing for this market – take a look at the chart below, and the gap in pricing between the PS2 and XBox360 Core, and the XBox 360 and XBox 260 Elite. Which makes me wonder – why isn’t Sony skimming the market and pricing the console at, say, Rs. 10,000? With just 2 thousand more, one can buy 3 PS2s for the price of 1 XBox 360.

Answer may lie in the impending launch of the PlayStation Network (PSN). The new PS2 will be PSN enabled, and the more of these consoles Sony is able to sell, the greater the possibility of traction for the PSN. The PSN allows Sony to reduce the possibility of piracy, and make a recurring revenue through online game sales and subscription charges. Do note, however, that the PSN will be broadband dependent like XBox Live, and this may hamper its success. Update: No PS2 games on the PSN, according to Joystiq and Jessica in the comments.

According to the ET report, Sony has sold 340,000 PS2s in India.

Update: As pointed out by manuscripts in the comments, the XBox 360 appears to be available at a reduced price of Rs. 14990. We’re not sure if it is a transient discount or a permanent one, but it does reduce the gap between the 360 Core and the PS2 to Rs. 7910 (from Rs. 12910), but there’s still space for skimming. For some context on the XBox situation do read the related post.

Udpate: The MS discount was transient, Jessica adds in the comments. We cant confirm because MS PR doesn’t respond to us.

Related: XBox 360 Fails To Sell In India; MS To Wind Up Ops In Tier-I Cities: Report