Sony's $399 PlayStation 4 is selling well at this point but as with all new tech gear (and especially consoles), one has to wonder exactly how much it cost to assemble the device and how much the manufacturer is making from each sale. And thanks to research firm IHS iSuppli, we now have an answer to both burning questions.
According to the firm's teardown and cost analysis, the $399 PS4 cost Sony roughly $381 to assemble. The most expensive components are the AMD-designed APU and 8GB of GDDR5 memory which cost around $100 and $88, respectively. It's clear that Sony isn't making a ton of bank off each console but at least they aren't losing money, either.
In fact, breaking even or even losing a little per console sold is a time-honored tradition in the gaming industry. The general consensus is that console makers try and get new systems in the hands of gamers as quickly as possible with the plan to make money back on game sales over the next several years. Furthermore, it becomes easier and cheaper to manufacture hardware as time passes due to the fact that technology improves the manufacturing process.
Even at a tiny profit or breaking even, Sony is doing much better this time around. The PlayStation 3 sold for $599 at launch but reportedly cost around $805 to build due to expensive custom components like the Cell processor and Blu-ray drive.