Sony's PS5 is set to launch in the 'Holiday 2020' window alongside Microsoft's Xbox Series X, and according to an industry analyst, the next gen console will fly off the shelves - although the predicted numbers put it slightly behind the PS4's release window sales.
Hideki Yasuda, from Japanese analytical firm Ace Research Institute, has weighed in on the upcoming console launch, saying that he expects it to ship 6 million units by the end of March, 2021. Shipped units don't equal console sales, which are typically lower given that those units then have to be sold. But if that's the case, the PS5 will be lagging behind the PS4 from the get go.
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The PS4 came to market in November 2013 and sold 4.5 million units by the end of December (Q3 2013). By the end of March - the fourth quarter of FY 2013 - it had sold another 3 million, bringing the total sales for FY 2013 to 7.5 million units. The console has done incredibly well ever since, with total sales exceeding 106 million as of December last year.
If the PS5 is predicted to ship 6 million units in the same window of time for it own launch, it's going to fall short of its predecessors success. The PS4 is now the second best-selling console of all time, behind the PS2 with its lifetime sales of 155 million units.
We're not worried that Sony will have another PS3 situation on its hands - a console which got off to a rocky start and only managed to sell 87.4 million units during its lifecycle - but Ace Research Institute believes that the design of a console can have a measurable impact on its success, which is also dictated by the price. The price of the PS5 has yet to be confirmed, as is the new design, so it makes it difficult to predict sales in the absence of those factors.
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Another factor that may come into play is the coronavirus, which is impacting businesses whose factories are in China, as well as those who source components from the region.
We've already heard reports of a possible delayed PS5 and Xbox Series X launch and Nintendo has confirmed that its experiencing its own supply issues with the Switch. Even mobile manufacturers like Apple have warned of iPhone shortages as a result of the virus. Neither Sony nor Microsoft have confirmed to what extent their own supply line has been affected, but we find it hard to believe that there's been no fallout at all.
Taking that into account, the PS5's shipped units could be much lower if it misses out on that all-important holiday window, when big ticket items are bought with gay abandon in the run up to Christmas. Those Q4 sales could see the PS5 off to an iffy start, and if Sony doesn't get the balance right on the price front, it may have a disaster on its hands.