An improvement in parts may trigger a major price drop in the PlayStation 3's cost, according to Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter. Sony's semicondutor division has managed to ramp up the production of the blue-violet lasers needed for the PS3's drive much sooner than expected, making it less expensive to produce them and ultimately the game systems themselves. The difference could offer a major discount to Sony for each of the $125 Blu-Ray readers and affect the total system price.
Pachter noted that while a price cut wasn't certain, the improvement would increase the likelihood that Sony drops the price significantly sometime during 2007 -- possibly dropping the price of the flagship 60GB system to $499, he said. Such a change would put Sony back in direct competition with Microsoft in terms of price, as the latter's Xbox 360 Elite sells at $480 using a larger 120GB hard drive but only a standard DVD optical reader. Sony recently cancelled the 20GB PS3 in North America after poor sales made it unfeasible. [viaDailyTech]