The PS5 is coming – assuming its ever revealed – and it's going to be huge. In terms of features, it's due to pack the potential to game in 8K resolutions, an enormous modular solid-state drive and display silky-smooth motion thanks to an increased framerate capability.
When it comes to sales, it will be big. How big, exactly, we're not sure, as it'll face stiff competition from the Xbox Series X and potentially even the Nintendo Switch Pro. However, some analysts are already looking at the early buzz and making predictions as to how popular the consoles will prove in the early stages of their lifespans.
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Japanese analytical firm Ace Research Institute (opens in new tab)'s Hideki Yasuda believes the PS5 will sell at an unprecedented rate. According to Yasuda, both PS5 and PS4 should ship 6 million units by March 31, 2021. As PS4 production winds down, it's expected that PS5 orders by retailers will swell as they anticipate a busy holiday period. There's sure to be a PS5 under quite a few trees this Christmas.
In addition, Yasuda believes another 15 million units will be shipped the following year, up to March 2022. The PS5's first full year of production will tell us a lot about how its going to fare during its lifespan, and given that over 102 million PS4s have been sold worldwide, it's safe to say expectation is high for the PS5.
There's no word on how this compares with the Xbox Series X, as there appears to be no prediction from ARI on how Microsoft's console will fare just yet. However, the relationship between the consoles (which one has a lower price, which console carries exclusives and so on) will affect the final figures.
One caveat is necessary: this analysis was actually published at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, we've seen several high-profile events cancelled such as Mobile World Congress, and Sony also left PAX East citing coronavirus concerns.
Device launches have been delayed and manufacturers such as Apple and Nintendo are scaling back on production as Chinese supply chains are disrupted. If the outbreak continues to snowball, this could interrupt the PS5's production, causing a big issue for Sony when attempting to fill large orders of consoles at launch.
As the situation is still in flux, it's impossible to tell whether the international panic will have any effect on Sony's launch plans. However, we'd be very surprised if Sony did not have a contingency plan or two up its sleeve to account for some disruption as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
It's a strong prediction from Yasuda, but can Sony live up to the hype and fend off its rivals to fulfil this promising forecast? We can't wait to find out, as that tentative "Holiday 2020" release date inches ever closer.