It’s hard to say whether fans will want to buy the PS5 or the Xbox Series X in greater numbers, but the supply chain seems to be banking on the PS5. At present, electronics manufacturers in Taiwan estimate that Sony aims to produce 120 million PS5s over the next five years. If that’s true, then Sony expects the PS5 to sell even better than the PS4, which has sold 110 million units over the course of seven years.
Information comes from Digitimes, a Taiwanese publication that focuses on the business of electronic supply chains. Digitimes cites “sources of [Sony’s] backend supply chain in Taiwan,” which is admittedly a little vague. But considering that the publication is extremely straitlaced and fact-oriented, it’s worth taking the report seriously.
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There are two important components from the report. The first is that Sony plans to produce 120 million PS5 units over the next five years. The second is that, according to the same sources, Microsoft plans to produce about 60 million Xbox Series X units in the same time frame.
There’s a lot to unpack there, so let’s start with the “120 million PS5s” suggestion. First, Digitimes reports that Sony intends to ship 10 million PS5s in 2020, meaning that it will have to ship an average 27.5 million PS5s every subsequent year until 2025 to meet the 120 million figure. This may not be a realistic number, as the PS4 has sold fewer units than that over a longer timeframe. On the other hand, perhaps the PS5 will deliver an experience that targets a wider demographic than traditional console gamers. Until the console launches, it will be hard to tell — and even then, Sony could add any number of features designed to attract new customers after the fact.
There’s also the idea that Sony intends to ship twice as many units as Microsoft in the same time frame. Using Xbox One and PS4 sales as a template, this isn’t an unrealistic figure by any means. The Xbox One has sold 50 million units in roughly the same time frame as it took the PS4 to sell 110 million, so the “two PlayStations for one Xbox” model could hold true in the future. Furthermore, Microsoft has demonstrated a willingness to build its ecosystem, perhaps even prioritizing cross-platform compatibility over selling Xbox Series X consoles.
In any case, these are only initial reports, and a lot could change between now and 2025. But assuming they’re accurate, both Sony and Microsoft intend to sell more consoles than before, and in a shorter time frame, to boot. That could be a risky strategy with mobile gaming and cloud gaming on the rise, but people also though that console gaming was on the decline when the PS4 and the Xbox One debuted. As always, the market wants what the market wants.