Microsoft has painted themselves into quite a corner. On the one hand I doubt they would like to continue losing so much on each console sold but at the same time bringing the price back up to $400 is basically resigning the rest of the year to sony again. It's an interesting conundrum they have on their hands.
Not sure they are losing anything at $349 and no added games. The cost of the system at launch was less than what they were selling it for. After they dropped the Kinect, they skould have been in the black by $30-50 (at the $399 price point). But, the $349 with games has to be a loss for sure.
The most accurate estimates we have said that at launch it was $396 to make without the Kinect. That of course also makes no mention of development costs.
Even now it's highly unlikely that they are making any money at $349 even without games.
Like I mentioned earlier, I don't know if it makes sense for them to keep the price so low just to be competitive in one or two markets.
I know that none of us really know the true number, but the term accurate estimate is kind of funny if you think about it.
I would think that M$ would be able to source parts pretty cheap, especially a year into making it. Also, most of these situations that those estimates come from are truly a guess. How could anyone know what the cost of a component being ordered in the 10's of millions would be? They can look at what the cost would be in the 1000's maybe, not the 10's of millions.
we will just never know...
So, like all #'s used in the forums, I will just make up my own numbers to suit my purpose. Just like everyone else. I can be no more or less accurate than what those estimates were at launch.