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How Much Is that Console in the Window?

xbox-one

There's a reason that Xbox costs $499 retail -- Microsoft couldn't possibly charge more. Here's the breakdown:

Technology market watcher IHS tore into the components of the new gaming machine, and – judging by the Xbox One's hardware and manufacturing costs – believes Microsoft is taking a hit on hardware sales in hope of revenues from licensed games and Live subscriptions.

This follows a time-honored tradition in the console market of selling games machines at a loss, simply to get as much gear as possible into homes, and then make back the money on royalties from third-party developers. It's claimed Sony makes "about $18" on each $400 PlayStation 4, for example.

The IHS estimates that each Xbox One console carries a hardware cost of $457 per unit and an additional manufacturing cost of $14, making the device a $471 machine to produce wholesale. An Xbox One costs $499 in the shops, so that's a $28 difference. (But then the retailer will want a cut, and there are other overheads to consider, so Microsoft's mileage may vary.)

When you factor in development costs, licensing fees for Kinect, marketing... I wonder if Microsoft has yet to see its console business return an actual profit.