According to Reuters UK, Sony's gaming chief Kaz Hirai has high hopes for 2008, as there is the possibility the company could turn a profit on the PlayStation 3 in the next fiscal year. This is due in part to the declining manufacturing costs and, of course, better – and exclusive – software on the way.

"We want to get to the positive side of the equation as quickly as possible," said Hirai during a news conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "The next fiscal year starts in April and if we can try to achieve that in the next fiscal year that would be a great thing. We are going through the budgets right now. That (profitability) is not a definite commitment, but that is what I would like to try to shoot for."

Hirai's words come hot on the heels of Sony's excellent holiday sales numbers , which stated that 1.2 million PS3 units had been sold in North America. As of now, Sony still loses money on every PS3 it sells, but Hirai believes that's going to change very soon. They may have stripped the new 40GB model of a few features we had in the original 60GB model, but that just means it's cheaper to produce. And, oh yeah, people are buying it.

"Component costs are coming down, and the number of components … we are seeing a reduction," Hirai said. "The 40 gigabyte PlayStation 3 obviously has fewer components (than more powerful models), and uses less power, which means that components required to dissipate heat, for example, can be smaller, so there is some cost reduction there. So costs are coming down significantly."

He concluded that the decline in cost is "in line" with what the company had expected. We don't know if they were being initially optimistic or not, but this is certainly good news. We have to say, all the Sony and PS3-related news to kick of 2008 is in stark contrast to the early news of 2007. In fact, we dare say we're looking at a complete 180, here…

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