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Gaming

PS4, Xbox One sales to reach 50-51 million units by end of 2015, EA exec predicts

"Clearly, consoles have sold faster than everyone expected," said EA exec.

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One combined userbase is on pace to reach about 50-51 million units worldwide by the end of the calendar year. That's according to Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen, who gave his take on the current console landscape during the UBS Global Technology Conference this week.

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"Clearly, consoles have sold faster than everyone expected," he said. "We're ahead of the previous cycle in terms of the pace. We're on track to see, industry-wide, about 50 to 51 million units by calendar year end. And typically, most of the consoles are sold in the last quarter of the year because a lot of it is around gift-giving."

With more than 29.4 million units shipped worldwide, the PS4 is the global sales leader, though the console was outsold by the Xbox One in the US during October. For its part, Microsoft does not plan to announce Xbox One console shipment numbers going forward.

What may help the PS4 and Xbox One sell especially well this holiday are console-software bundles, Jorgensen said. Microsoft has more than a dozen Xbox One bundles available, featuring games like Fallout 4, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Halo 5: Guardians, while Sony has the Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection and Star Wars Battlefront PS4 bundles, among others. These bundles are sold for $350, the going rate for a standard system, which means, "from a consumer perspective, it's a great buy," Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen was also asked if the PS4 and Xbox One may see price cuts in 2016, but he didn't have anything to share on that front. However, the executive said future console sales growth may be led by even more game-bundling and interest in consoles with more storage space.

He also stressed that the current-generation console cycle still has plenty of room to grow and is nowhere near the peak. By comparison, the PS3 and Xbox 360 alone combined for more than 160 million global console sales. This doesn't count the Wii's 100 million-plus sales.

Also during his presentation, Jorgensen said PS4 and Xbox One games this holiday are more attractive than ever, as developers are now leveraging more power out of each box than ever before.

"The power of the new consoles is fantastic," he said. "I think software makers are just now starting to truly harness the power. The first year, you had people testing and pushing, but now I think you're starting to see, particularly this fall and winter, a lot really exciting pieces of software in the industry that are taking the processing power of the console."

Jorgensen also shared some insights into EA's business performance. He said attach rate (how many games are sold with new systems) for current-generation consoles is roughly in line with the previous generation. The major difference, however, is DLC and add-on content sales for EA games has jumped by a major margin over titles for previous-generation systems.

He also said EA full-game downloads made up 20 percent of all PS4 and Xbox One game sales during the company's most recent quarter, which compares to a peak percentage of 5 percent for last-gen systems. He added that EA expects the PS4 and Xbox One full-game download percentage to rise to 40 percent over the next 3 to 4 years.

In addition, Jorgensen shared that margins for EA digital games are almost twice the margins for physical games, though he stressed that EA continues to maintain healthy relationships with physical retailers like GameStop, Walmart, and Target.