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Sony aims to sell 5 million Playstation 4 consoles by the end of March

With the launch of Sony's Playstation 4 in North America underway, the president of the electronics giant has revealed he is confident the company will sell five million consoles by the end of the financial year.

Speaking in New York for the US launch yesterday, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Andrew House said that sales figure predictions would see them close the gap on Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 console outsold Sony's Playstation 3 in both Europe and the US.

House described Sony's latest console as being "designed from the ground up to be a highly networked and connected device," and dismissed claims that a significant loss would be made on each unit sold.

The PS4 is set to hit shelves in the UK and Europe on 29 November, one week after the Xbox One launches. Costing £349, Sony's console is £80 cheaper than its rival - a key factor in recent sale forecasts that suggested the PS4 would initially perform better.

Predictions from analysis firm International Data Corporation (IDC) suggested that the PS4 would outsell Microsoft's Xbox One in the first few months of sales. IDC gaming research manager Lewis Ward said in a statement: "The number of online console gamers around the globe is on pace to exceed 165 million by 2017."

The PS4 will be available in 32 countries worldwide by Christmas, alongside games such as Killzone: Shadow Fall, Assasins Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts.