The first of two new console launches (the Nintendo Wii on Sunday being the other) is happening today.
The Playstation 3 will be available today, to those who’ve pre-ordered or are waiting in line, in two varieties; a $599.99 version which contains a 60GB harddrive, a multimedia reader and WiFi built in and a $499.99 version which contains a 20GB harddrive, no multimedia reader and no WiFi built in.
Demand is expected to be high, but unfortunately Sony will not be able to meet it with expected shipments somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 to 200,000 (they previously were shooting for about 1M, before cutting it to 400,000 and now halving that).
Supplies throughout the holiday season are also expected to be low as Sony as reports indicate Sony will only be able to supply around 500,000 to 800,000 units by the end of the year in North America (halved from the previous estimate of 1M to 1.2M).
According to a report at iSupply Corporation, the 20GB version of the Playstation 3 costs the company $805.85/console (a $306.85 loss/console) to produce, while the 60B version costs the company $840.35/console (or a loss of $241.35/console) to produce.
Needless to say, this is a very expensive launch for the company, and they have a lot riding on it.