The Times Online
had a sit-down with Sony Computer Entertainment boss, Kaz Hirai, after the big Gamescom show last week in Cologne. You remember, the event that saw the official launch of the PS3 Slim
. The Q&A is an interesting read in whole, but the answer that stands out comes in response to a question about whether the lower-priced $299 PS3 Slim will be sold at a loss relative to its cost to manufacture. "Yes," was the quick answer from Kaz. That's a surprise for two reasons. First, the PS3 Slim benefits from more efficient 45-nm manufacturing processes
used on its smaller, less power-hungry Cell processor. Also, just last month Sony's CFO told investors that manufacturing costs of the PS3 had dropped by "about 70%, roughly speaking
" -- that comes to about $240 based on original manufacturing estimates
when the PS3 launched back in 2006. Regardless, a console being sold as a loss-leader is nothing new in the gaming industry and, as Kaz points out, will almost certainly be offset by looking at the PS3 as a platform that includes the hardware, software, peripherals, and services.