According to DFC intelligence figures cited by Dave Perry, Sony has lost more money on the PlayStation 3 hardware than it made on the PlayStation 2 during its five most popular years. In pure numbers speak it's lost $3 billion on the PS3, which is about equivalent to everything it made selling PS2s during its peak years. This story would actually have a lot more impact if Carl Sagan was around to say "beelyuns."
Perry, best known for his stint at Shiny Entertainment, was speaking at the really long-named Games Convention Developers Conference, which appears to be both a Convention and a Conference, and was just using the figures to underscore how much Sony was spending on hardware development. However, the 1UP article doesn't mention until near the end that the original PS2 lost money in its first year, and that Sony (and the other console makers) does this so it can make bank on the software/games that people need to fuel their systems.
In all fairness, the article goes on to explain that Microsoft lost $4 billion on the original Xbox, and has had to spend over $1 billion replacing faulty hardware in the 360 and extending the warranty for original purchasers. So, we tend to think $5 billion trumps $3 billion. The real winner in this struggle? Nintendo. It has been churning a profit on that little Wii since it hopped out of the gate. Rassin' frassin' wand-wagglin' profiteers.