"Sony CEO, the 66 year-old Sir Howard Stringer, has told German news outlet Welt Online that he does not expect the R&D cash spent on PS3 to be recouped soon. Asked by the Welt if he could ever see the $3 billion ($1.6b or Euro 2.03b) spent on development of the console, he responded, "Not for as long as I live (laughs). It will certainly take some time."
He was, however, bullish in terms of consumer uptake of the PS3, saying that, "Consumers are purchasing our PlayStation 3 video game consoles faster than we can produce them."
"We currently have a production bottleneck with the PlayStation 3", he continued.
He also confirmed that even with hardware bottlenecking due to demand, "You also know, however, that our business model is not perfect, and that we make a loss on every console we sell."
He was then drawn on one of his company's competitors, Nintendo. Strangely, or with good PR vetting of questions, Microsoft and the Xbox 360 did not merit a mention. "The Wii is a well-made device that has found a new target group. For a while, we held the same target group with the SingStar karaoke game. But perhaps we neglected to pursue that avenue."
"The major difference lies in the fact that Nintendo makes money with the hardware alone, which may be a superior business model. But the Wii is not succeeding at our expense it is not hurting us. We decided years ago to build a game console that offers much greater functionality. The PlayStation 3 has an enormous processor; it is gradually emerging as the central server in our users' homes."
So, how is Sony making any money from PS3? Quite simple according to the Welshman, "In the meantime, we earn money with the games. We are currently at the stage in which we need to get a grip on the production costs. That takes time. We are already making more money with the games than we are losing with the hardware."
What about a price cut then? Will there be one this year? "I think not", says Sir H enigmatically."
I took the whole- "We can't make enough PS3s" rhetoric as spin, however, I definitely appreciated the honesty. Guys in suits rarely take the humble route.