Both Microsoft and Sony were conspicuously quiet on the longevity of the Xbox 360 and the PS3 at this year’s E3, making it clear that announcements won’t be made until development is much farther along. Sony in particular has remained stoic, claiming that it is not their goal to launch first, but to launch best.
With more and more developers speaking of their hopes for the next generation of consoles in vocabulary that implies the jump will take place sooner rather than later, evidence that the manufacturers are also gearing up has arrived. According to the resumé of a former Sony employee, work on what is assumed to be the PlayStation 4 has been taking place since October 2010.
Nintendo may have been the only company showing off a new console at E3 2012, but Sony executives did break silence long enough to claim that only when a jump in technology was obvious would the time be right to start discussing next-gen. Making internal research and development public is one thing, but it seems that those in the company’s labs have been fairly busy.
Videogamer uncovered the LinkedIn profile of Attila Vass, former software design director within Sony’s gaming division. Having spent years working on everything from the PlayStation 2 right up to the Vita, one credit on Vass’ CV is not like the others:
Obviously the “Next Generation PlayStation” refers to Sony’s next console, regardless of whether this report earns an official statement from the manufacturer. While 2010 saw Sony and Microsoft still embroiled in the current console war, it appears that the PlayStation 4 has been worked on for close to two years at this point. It’s fair to say that ‘work’ on the PS4 began even farther back in conceptual terms, but bringing in an R&D director with so many different consoles under their belt is a good indication that 2010 was when a specific design or framework was starting to be formalized. Thinking about building something and actually getting the project moving are entirely different things, after all.
It’s impossible to tell what those years have produced in terms of actual hardware or software, but recent moves by the console makers provide a good sign. Having just recently acquired cloud-based gaming company Gaikai, many saw the move as an indication that streaming service would become a significant aspect of next-gen. If the programmers working on the PS4 have spent two years on the project, fans and gamers might see result far sooner than expected.
While an official confirmation, the idea that both Microsoft and Sony have been designing their next consoles isn’t surprising. If the ticking clock was meant to be a secret, then major developers certainly let that cat out of the bag a long time ago. Robert Bowling’s new zombie title is confirmed for next-gen in 2015, Ubisoft is developing Beyond Good & Evil 2 for the next consoles, and Crystal Dynamics’ hiring for a brand new IP. Don’t even get us started on Watch Dogs.
Expected announcements of both the Xbox 720 and PS4 at E3 2013 were based on a possible release either later that year, or the following holiday, much the same as Nintendo’s Wii U. But if Sony has been working on the project for two years already, and doesn’t expect to be launching first, things could change.
We won’t know for sure until the two console makers decide to start making official announcements, but for now the evidence seems fairly clear. What do you think of the timeline implied by this employee’s work history? Could the consoles be arriving even sooner than predicted?
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