While Sony remains steadfast to their claim that their next-gen console, currently codenamed Orbis, won't hit store shelves until, at the very earliest, 2014, Electronic Arts' CEO John Riccitiello believes we might get our first look at that console next year. In fact the EA boss believes not only will the PS4 be unveiled at some point next year, but so will Microsoft's next console venture, which is operating under the name Durango.
Obviously Riccitiello wouldn't go into specifics, and wouldn't put his company or their closest collaborators up for speculation, but his claims are nonetheless poignant. If we were to presume that the Xbox 720 and PS4 are gearing up for a 2014 release, it would behoove their manufacturers/publishers to get the brands out there before that.
Most figured that E3 2012 would have been the ideal place for either Microsoft or Sony to debut a next-gen console, but the perceived lack of competition in the Nintendo Wii U has clearly changed the two's perspectives. It's typical of a console publisher to follow suit when a competitor shows their hand, but apparently it's only Microsoft that Sony is worried about and vice versa.
Riccitiello's point is that, for EA and its direct competitors, getting out of the software sales slump they've been experiencing is going to require visibility on next-gen consoles.
A major catalyst going forward, and the most important catalyst going forward is visibility on next-generation console, because that NPD data — that minus 10-25% that you’ve been seeing — that can and should be reversed out and some point, probably starting next year.
Games like Watch Dogs and Star Wars 1313 definitely caught our eye at E3, but the uncertainty surrounding their launch platform left a lot of questions. If, however, these publishers and developers can show that with these new consoles the experiences being shown in on high powered PCs are possible, then that's a major turning point.
Obviously there are a ton more factors to consider, most importantly the price of these consoles, but just the idea of playing a next-gen game seems to be enough to spark change in Riccitiello's mind. It's not exactly news that next-gen should be unveiled some time next year, but getting some perspective from the publishers and the developers — the ones whose success goes hand in hand with that of these consoles — is interesting.
Do you agree with Riccitiello's claim that all major publishers and developers are counting on the next-gen consoles being unveiled in 2013?