Sony won’t ship its next-generation video game console — the PlayStation 5 — until the fourth quarter, but already Asian trade industry news site Digitimes is reporting data gathered from annonymous sources in Taiwan familiar with the product’s back-end chain that shipments could reach at least an estimated 120 million units in the next five years.

Further, the trade site said the estimated shipment rate would “roughly double” shipments of Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox Series X consoles, which are set to launch in the same time frame.

The report states that the new platform’s life cycle could be shortened to five years from the previous 6-7 years, and before its time expires Sony could move between 120 and 170 million units. In comparison, the PlayStation 4 console has shipped 110 million units globally to date, after that platform’s launch in 2013.

Digitimes said Sony has recently boosted its PS5 shipment estimate for 2020 to nearly 10 million units.

“AMD-designed processors for the device fabricated by TSMC on its 7nm node and packaged by ASE Technology and Siliconeware Precision Industries (SPIL) with its FCBGA process are already being delivered to Sony, and shipments of peripheral chipsets are expected to peak later in the third quarter to support first wave of terminal sales in the fourth quarter,” according to Digitimes’ sources.

Digitimes said Taiwan’s chipmaker ZillTek Technology and China’s AAC Technologies now share Sony’s orders for handle controller chips for PS5, and another two Taiwanese IC designers Nuvoton Technology and Genesys Logic are supplying MCUs and USB hub controllers, respectively, for the device, with Greatek Electronics as their supply partner.

Sony unveiled last month two versions of the PlayStation 5 console it intends to ship in time for the 2020 Holiday season — a disc-less “Digital Edition” and one incorporating a UHD Blu-ray drive. Both will use a media remote control.

The PlayStation 5 platform will support up to 4K/120p resolution frame rates, and up to 8K graphics. It is also to feature 3D Audio (Tempest Engine), and ray-tracing for games. A new optional media remote used to control video streaming and other features is planned for the devices along with other accessories.

Pricing has not yet been revealed for either the PS5 Digital Edition or the larger disc-carrying version.

It will be up against a powerful promise from Microsoft that the new Xbox platform will support extensive backward compatibility with games and accessories from past Xbox generations. In contrast, the PS5 will not be backwards compatible with PS3 games, although it will support PS4 game remasters.

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In addition to advanced graphics, resolution and game play, Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox Series X platform has been designed for backward compatibility with four generations of Xbox games plus Xbox One accessories. It will also include, like the Xbox One S and X, an Ultra HD Blu-ray supporting optical disc drive. Both the new platform and the previous Xbox One X are based on x86 PC hardware architecture, as is the PlayStation 5.

On the other hand, the Xbox 360 was based on PowerPC architecture. But Microsoft says the Xbox Series X will be able to run thousands of legacy games from the original Xbox and Xbox 360 platforms.

Unclear is whether this means the new hardware will be compatible with all titles as well as all of the original discs, or if digitally distributed versions of some or all of those legacy titles will be required.

However, past accessories for the Xbox One consoles and services including Xbox Game Pass will continue to work with the new consoles, the company has said.

The Xbox Series X will be based on custom 1.825 GHz AMD Radeon RDNA 2 architecture. 8K resolution support will be available, but the intention is to target many Series X games at 4K/60p and up to 120fps.

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By Greg Tarr

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