We probably won't ever know for sure (or at least not anytime soon) what their real numbers are going to be, but
Merrill Lynch Japan Securities has calculated the cost structure of putting a Sony
PlayStation 3 on the shelf, and they're
expecting Sony lose $94 per unit selling each at an estimated $399 at launch. (In case you're curious, they're
estimating $101 apiece for the Cell chip, RSX, and BD-ROM drive, and all the rest of the costs). They go on to predict
a net loss for Sony of $1.18 billion the first year—way, way more than the $458 million they lost the first year on the
PS2, but we know Sony's got deep pockets (and apparently a whole lot of faith in their platform). How did Kutaragi
respond when asked how they'll be able to justify the huge cost of the device on launch, even despite their
cost-slashing? "Our ideal [for the PS3] is for consumers to think to themselves, 'OK, I'll work more hours and buy it.'
We want people to feel that they want it, no matter what." Ok, fair enough. Now get back to work, people.