Thats interesting. I had thought the Vita itself was profitable from day 1, but that it would take 3 years for it to pay off it's R&D bill.
This is kind of what I mean. The 250$ vita is likely profitable with one game, especially now that the exchange rate has gone up over ten percent since release (both in euro and dollar) and Sony had only predicted a forex of 80 and 100, and it now stands at 85 and 113. The system is likely profitable without a game or memory card, right now, given this fortuitous turn.
But at launch, to correct the history, at launch it was not profitable. Though it is believed that the 3g 300$ version WAS profitable, the wifi version was considered to only be profitable with a memory card and game attached to the sale. Currently though, it should be reliably making healthy margin profit.
The 3 years would also take into account planned price-drops. Obviously, when detailing to investors, they would make sure that they didn't have to apologize down the line by saying "we didn't expect to drop the price". The prediction should include any upcoming price-drops, but possibly does NOT include PS+ revenue and subsequent memory card attach rate. I'd say it's going to take a little longer than 3 years looking at the current situation, unless Sony is able to turn it around and the Vita starts to kick off. Hopefully, we are also undertracking it by some fair margin.