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Here's why Sony expects to ship 5M units of PS4 by April 2014

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Sony believes it will ship 5 million units of the PlayStation 4 by the end of its 2013 fiscal year — March 31, 2014 — and the company explained its reasoning during an investor call this morning, as transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, initially stated that forecast during the Tokyo Game Show last month. When asked to elaborate on that number during today's investor call, which focused on the fiscal report for the second quarter of Sony's 2013 fiscal year, a Sony executive listed two main factors in the company's expectation.

"One measure of our confidence is in the pre-orders that we have received from the consumers," said Masaru Kato, Sony's chief financial officer. "Compared to past platforms, the pre-orders that we have received for this new platform is much, much, much higher." Earlier this year, during Gamescom in August, House said that PS4 pre-orders had hit 1 million consoles worldwide.

Kato also touted the PS4's third-party support at launch and beyond, while acknowledging that it hasn't been there in the past.

"Sometimes, when we launch a new platform, the software catalog is not sufficient, or after the launch, sometimes, you don't have good titles following the launch," said Kato. "But this year, on a comparative basis, I think we have a much more stronger lineup of software coming."

"Units shipped" refers to consoles that Sony has sold to retailers, but which may not yet have been purchased by consumers.