Lazard Capital Markets is currently predicting lower than expected PS3 shipping numbers in the US.

While Sony has remained firm on the 400,000 unit North American launch target, Lazard Capital Markets has estimated that the US may see as few as 150,000 units this Friday. They do not include Canada in the estimates, but the country normally gets around half of what the US receives. In Japan, Sony estimated 100,000 units for launch day and shipped 88,000, according to Famitsu.

This may bode well for the Xbox 360, according to the study. “Supply shortages of new consoles could boost sales of Xbox 360 hardware, which should be available in fairly large quantities, in the near term, boosted by key new title releases Gears of War (Microsoft), Call of Duty 3 (Activision), Need for Speed Carbon (Electronic Arts) and Rainbow Six Vegas (UbiSoft).”

Looking to the future, the study is optimistic about the industry’s prospects as the high-definition consoles begin to take over: “We expect new consoles to sell well through the end of the year and this fifth major platform transition is likely to be the largest product launch in the industry’s history. Importantly, we also expect next-gen hardware to be a major catalyst for accelerating industry growth into the new video game cycle,” the study says. “Moreover, this cycle is likely to be more robust, as the move to high-definition consoles provides greater processing power, graphics quality and memory capacity – delivering higher entertainment value. We project a 10% CAGR for industry software revenues in the United States over the next 4-5 years, to approximately $11 billion in 2009/2010 from roughly $7 billion last year.”

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