When the PS3 first hit the market, it was being sold at a loss, in fact, it wasn't until recently that Sony's console was sold at a profit. This time around it seems Sony's taken a lesson from Nintendo, as the PlayStation Vita is being sold at a profit from the get go.
UBM TechInsights tore apart a 3G PlayStation Vita model and total up the cost of its hardware. According to their findings, the handheld's components only cost around $159.10 to assemble, with the system's touchscreen being the most expensive part.
Sony currently sells the 3G PlayStation Vita at $299.99, and according to numbers provided by Eurogamer, it's well worth assuming that Sony makes just over $178 on every 3G Vita sold.
It's worth noting that while the Vita seems to be sold at a huge profit, these numbers do not factor in other costs such as marketing, shipping, R&D, etc. We have no idea how much that cost Sony, so one cannot exactly say whether the Vita is remotely close to as profitable as these numbers alone suggest.
If there is one good thing though, it's that the discrepancy between the hardware costs and the retail price probably helps to cushion the blow of poor sales. With Vita sales declining week over week in Japan, it's probably not as worrisome for Sony when they're making almost $180 on each piece of hardware.
The numbers also give Sony some wiggle room when it comes to future price drops. If by chance Sony finds that the Vita is not preforming to their expectations, they have plenty of room to drop the price. In the past, there has been speculation among the gaming community that Sony had to drop features like backwards compatibility from the PS3 in order to lower the system's price. If that was indeed true, then future Vita models probably won't require the loss of certain features seeing as it's already being sold at a profit. Let's just hope future iterations add internal memory.
The PlayStation Vita launches on February 22nd, 2012.
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