Back in January, Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai told Reuters that he'd very much like the company to turn a profit on PlayStation 3 in early 2009. Going by a new report on the actual manufacturing costs of the system, Hirai may get his wish.

BusinessWeek reports that the PS3 – which cost Sony a whopping $840 to produce in 2006 – has, through a reduction in parts and cost thereof, reached a price of $445 assembled. Sony was losing more than $200 per system sold back in the fall of '06 ... and it has now gotten that figure down to about $45. This was achievable by scaling back its inner-workings from 4,048 parts then to 2,820 today (losing backwards compatibility with PS2 games along the way). Also, the system's Cell processor, which cost Sony $89 at launch, is $46 now.

It's good news for Sony and its shareholders, who have been watching profits sink for some time. It's also good news for gamers; continued cost reduction on the hardware could spell a price drop on both SKUs by summer of 2009 – and potentially even more aggressive pricing this time next year. (Fun fact: although it might seem like the retail price of PS3 isn't dropping as fast as PS2, both systems dropped exactly $100 during their first 24 months on sale.)

[Via PS3 Fanboy]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.