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2. Sony Officially Announces PlayStation 3 Slim at $299

Sony PlayStation 3 turned three years old this year. However, until recently the cost of the PS3 was too high for an average consumer, which is why we were not exactly surprised that tens of thousands of our readers clicked on the headline announcing the PlayStation 3 Slim version with $299 price-tag. Even though the console had hard start and is still the worst-selling new-generation game system, it is a perfect Blu-ray player and supports a lot of decent high-definition games. 

In order to make PlayStation 3 Slim possible, Sony had to manufacture Cell processor using 45nm process technology and make Nvidia RSX graphics chip at 65nm node. To further reduce costs, the design of the latest-generation PlayStation 3 is significantly revised from previous versions. The major changes involve the use of less expensive semiconductors, a general redesign of the product and a reduction in the number of components in the console. Excluding the controller and the box contents, the latest version of the PlayStation 3 includes approximately 2568 components, down from 4048 in the original version.

The new chips also cut the power usage of the PlayStation 3, allowing design changes that reduce hardware costs. The new system cuts the energy budget nearly in half from the first-generation hardware as the new PS3 employs a 220W master power supply, compared to a 400W supply in the first version. The lower wattage reduces the cost of the power supply as well as other power and cooling components.

Even though Sony Computer Entertainment has managed to greatly reduce the manufacturing cost of its PlayStation 3 video game system, the company still sells its console at a loss, according to a new teardown analysis conducted by iSuppli market research firm. In fact, the latest PS3 Slim 120GB costs $336.27 to make.

Thanks to the price-cut, PS3’s sell-through numbers have increased rather substantially since August. Nevertheless, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii remain more successful in the U.S. According to NPD Group, in November, 2009, Nintendo sold 1.26 million Wii systems, Microsoft supplied 819.5 thousand Xbox 360 consoles, Sony shipped 710.4 thousand of PlayStation 3s and 203.1 thousand of PS2s.

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