It looks like Sony really did steal from the Microsoft play book on this one. More specifically, it's unlikely that Sony will ever turn a profit on the PlayStation 3, unless they're able to drag the lifecycle of the device out to 10 years:
Acclaim boss David Perry has said that Sony will not be able to make a decent profit on sales of the PlayStation 3 due to selling the system at a loss.
During his keynote speech at GCDC yesterday, the outspoken games developer claimed that the company has lost more money on the PlayStation 3 than it made during the five year peak sales period of the PlayStation 2.
"Because of the cost of making the PlayStation 3 and because they sold it at a loss, Sony basically has pretty much no chance of making money on the PS3, because it's lost more money than they made during the entire peak of the PlayStation 2 - it's not going to happen again for Sony,” stated Perry.
Perry suggested that Sony's much talked about ten-year plan for the PlayStation 3 is the company's chance to claw back costs of development in the long-term. "So this is going to force them to make the PS3 last longer and they're kind of positioning to do that," he said.
A separate report explains what "the entire peak of the PlayStation 2" refers to. Apparently, it's the "five most popular years of PS2 sales":
Speaking at Leipzig, Shiny Entertainment's Dave Perry highlighted DFC research pointing to the fact that Sony has now lost more money manufacturing and selling the PS3 than it recouped during the five most popular years of PS2 sales.
Total loss estimates are up to USD 3 billion, with Sony unlikely to turn a profit on the manufacture of PS3 for another couple of years. Only the Wii has been able to make money out of the gate.
None of which is surprising, but the severity of the figures would suggest the necessity of a decidedly elongated hardware cycle even by Sony's standards.
Note that it's nearly impossible for Microsoft to ever turn a profit from its first two generations of Xbox consoles.