When the PS3 launched in 2006, the price was considerably higher than it is today. Still, despite its $499 price tag, Sony lost money on each PS3 sold, and this continued up until 2010. However, the company isn't planning on a similar scenario with the PlayStation 4.
Eurogamer cites Sony CFO Masaru Kato as saying the company is not planning a 'major loss' for the PS4. Kato elaborated that the development of the PS3 required a lot of investments in R&D. The fact that the PS4 incorporates existing technology means less of an in-house investment this time around.
"Unlike PS3, we are not planning a major loss to be incurred with the launch of PS4," he's quoted as saying. "At the time we developed PS3, we made a lot of in-house investments to develop the chip, the Cell chip. Development of the chip saw the silicon processing and all the facilities invested by us ourselves. But this time, yes we have a team working on chip development, but we already have existing technology to incorporate and also product investment and all the facilities will now be invested by our partners, other foundries, so we don't have to make all the investment in-house."
Sony showed off the PS4 for the first time a few months ago. The company held a special event in February and talked at great length about the development of the PS4. Sony said that the PS4 has been in development for five years, which is a bit surprising as the PS4 seems to be based largely around existing PC technology. The console is based on x86 architecture with 8 cores, an integrated GPU, and 8GB of shared GDDR5 RAM. The graphical portion of the APU is said to deliver almost 2 TFLOPS of performance. Still, this goes hand in hand with what Kato was saying about not sinking huge amounts of money into developing chips and silicon processing.
While Sony offered plenty of information on the hardware, the company didn't actually show us the console itself. For that, we'll have to wait until E3, which isn't too far away. We also don't have any clue about pricing, which is obviously a very important factor for both consumers and Sony's bottom line.