Sony sets PS4 sales target of 5 million units by March, 2014

Andrew House expects new machine to sell faster than PS3

Sony's Andrew House has revealed the corporation's expectations for PS4 sales, telling an audience at the Tokyo Games Show that five million units will be in customers hands by the end March 2014.

That estimate puts considerable pressure on the PS4, meaning it would have to outsell its predecessor by 1.5 million in its opening year. The PS3 had a similar global window to hit that 3.5 million target, although it focused on different launch territories. Last time round, Sony opted to leave Europe waiting, dropping the PS3 in the US and Japan in November 2006 but waiting until March 2007 for a European launch. This time, the US remains the first market to be served, launching on November 15, with Europe following a fortnight later. Sony's home territory, where it will be virtually unopposed by Microsoft, has to wait a further three months until February 22, 2014.

Numbers are already looking good, however, with pre-orders already in excess of those for the PS3, likely aided by the new machine's lower price point. Because of its PC-based hardware, meaning lower R&D costs, the PS4 likely costs less to produce than the PS3. Some of that saving is clearly being passed on to consumers, but many analysts feel that Sony's precarious financial situation demands that the machine still be sold at a profit, something that the PS3 didn't achieve until quite late in its lifecycle.

"I think they are almost certainly making a profit there," industry analyst Michael Pachter explained. "A $399 retail price tag is about $370-375 at wholesale... our add up on the costs of materials is about $325, so I think they make a little bit of money, $25-55. And I think Sony has to make a profit, the corporation is not doing well financially, I don't think there'd be any tolerance internally to sell anything at a loss."

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Latest comments (9)

Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange6 years ago
Sony is just giving this number to make publishers happy. 5 million in sales is pretty much what's needed to make their next gen games break even. The PS4 may be cheaper than its predecessor but it also lacks features that gave people more reasons to upgrade. The PS4 won't reach this target, specially since most of its games are also on last gen. It doesn't even have GTA V.

Aside from the pretty graphics, the hardware wont be as exciting as the previous machines. Sony is not launching with a new media format, Blu Ray players are pretty much everywhere. The system doesn't have backwards compatibility like the PS2 and the PS3. Game development for next gen is taking much longer than expected. It's going to be dry right after the holidays. The PS4 is launching in Japan on a month where most people no longer have money to splurge.
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Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant 6 years ago
I think the WiiU, Xbone and PS4 have a fundamental problem.
Previous generations of home consoles had the following features.
1) They were by far the best gaming platforms available.
2) They were a huge step up on the previous generation of platform.
3) There was not much competition for a person's gaming time.

This new generation is the first time that all of these are no longer true.
So the imperative to buy is vastly weaker.
Add to this the enormous decline in the console market since 2008 and you can see that there could be problems ahead.
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Bruce - for what it's worth, I think that your first point is still true of the new consoles - the PS4 and Xbox One will offer the best "gaming platform', with much more immersive experiences than on mobile, for example, and better graphics and feature sets than 99% of PC's out there at this moment in time. I do think consoles offer games that simply aren't available on mobile and don't make sense as 99p purchases or as free-to-play.
But your other two points are definitely valid, and must be a key part of the thinking as Sony and Microsoft plan their marketing.
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Show all comments (9)
Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 6 years ago
don't forget the PC either. Gamers as a whole tend to get older. Older usually means more money on average, not less; f2p whales should have taught us that. Look no further than Valve and its continued rumors of a Steambox to realize that not just Sony and MS can sell consolized PC hardware, anybody can. In contrast to the PS4 and X-One launch day line up, any PC will start with a myriad of games.

In my opinion, the PS4 and the X-One aren't next generation, they are PC catch-up generation. The next big step forward, a step which lives up to the big steps of the past, will be when Oculus Rift and competitors hit the streets. That will be the landslide, the big before-after moment which will be memorable.
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Christopher Garratty Associate Counsel, Activision Blizzard6 years ago
@Bruce: And despite that fundamental problem and the vastly weaker imperative to buy, both PS4 and XBox One are reportedly seeing higher preorder numbers than for PS3 and Xbox 360. Odd no?
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 6 years ago
I think GTA V is an amazing accomplishment on current hardware but you can tell its pushing these machines to the limit, the time for upgrade is clearly here and I think most people can see that more grunt is needed, from what I've seen these new machines do provide that huge step up on the previous generation of platform even if the current crop of dual releases don't utilize it.
Not having GTA V at launch is the biggest hindrance to hitting these targets IMO, how successful GTA Online is on current gen and what advantages the PS4 and XBO version has over it(if there is one), will be a huge factor I think at getting people to upgrade.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd6 years ago
On the eve of every new console generation the armchair pundits come out to decree that massively increased specs will just result in "slightly prettier graphics". They've been utterly wrong every time, and I'm not sure how the order of magnitude increase in RAM and GPU power we're getting this time is going to be underwhelming.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 6 years ago
@Craig. You may be right, however... GTA isn't launching on the new hardware because I'm sure Rockstar would have wanted at least a year or more (probably more) to make it look even better and run at a solid 60fps or whatever. That and the larger install base of the Xbox 360 and PS3 make it a no-brainer release for THIS year. If it was set for a 2014 launch, I'd definitely question why, but now is the time to give current-gen owners one last fling with the series before it moves on.

As for PC users? If it comes out eventually, it will sell (probably not as well, but it'll sell).
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Robert Barrow Information Security Analyst 6 years ago
With the last generation there was a very visible reason to upgrade. That doesn't appear to be the case now although KZ and Ryse, amongst others, are showing that there is room to make truly visible leaps. The big difference this time is the quality of the first wave of games, Cerny makes a big deal about 'time to triangle' and the benefit if that is becoming apparent already. Especially with the second wave of games that are waiting in the wings, Deep Down, Infamous, The Order etc.

And this time around both companies have very potent support networks in place with Live and the SEN. MS with it's Glass tech, Sony with companion apps and RemotePlay. With Gaikai running on the PS4 you have a gaming server able to deploy a low latency experience to any mobile device.

I think once people wake up to the way in which this new generation can enhance your gaming experience it will really take off. It's an entire new way to engage with your hobby! And, as always, it's about the games but this time its about the games wherever, whatever, and whenever you want with no restrictions on the device of your choice. That's got to be a good thing right!?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Robert Barrow on 20th September 2013 12:50am

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