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Sony PS5 launch sales will fall short of PS4, says researchers

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The highly-anticipated Playstation 5 -- juiced up with 3D audio, an SSD for ultra-fast load times and 8K-resolution support -- is expected to ship 6 million units by March 2021, according to Ace Research Institute's Hideki Yasuda. That's a solid figure but it lags behind the PS4's release sales.

Also, keep in mind that ship isn't the same as sell.  

"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," T3 notes.

It's worth noting that the Playstation 4 sold 7.5 million units within the time frame being reported for the PS5's shipping projections. The PS4 is currently the second best-selling console of all time, marching behind the Playstation 2, which has total sales surpassing 106 million as of December 2019.

The next-gen PlayStation console is still expected to fly off the shelves in time for the 2020 holidays. While it may crawl behind the PS4 in sales, we'd be surprised if Sony has another PlayStation 3 on its hands, which only sold 87.4 million during its life span.

The Japanese research firm also predicted that the PS5 will ship an additional 15 million units between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

It's too early to speculate about the PS5 with true confidence because there are some missing details that would provide us with measurable information to predict its success, including pricing. Rumor has it, though, that the PS5 is costing Sony $450 to make per unit.

The PS4 had an estimated manufacturing cost of $381, and sold at the retail price of $399. With a similar gross margin, the retail price for PS5 could be $470 or higher.

The disruptive coronavirus may also be a threat to PS5's sales. Sony has not confirmed that its supply line has been affected, but it's hard to believe that there has been zero fallout. Nintendo confirmed that the coronavirus has delayed the production of the Switch.