It makes sense that Microsoft might unveil their next Xbox console at E3 2012, for a potential 2013 release. Xbox 360 was the first of the current-gen consoles to hit the market after all, a full year before the Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3, and it was originally expected to last around 5-6 years.
Since its release, Sony’s PS3 was touted long-term gaming investment, with an expected shelf life of a full decade. This was reiterated two weeks ago when CEO of SCE International, Andrew House, made clear his expectations for the PS3 in response to the system hitting the 50 million units sold milestone.
“I’ve always said [PS3’s life-cycle will be] ten-plus years and the only question mark is how long the ‘plus’ is… ten years I think is the minimum.”
So, since the PS3 hit store shelves in 2006, we’re only roughly half way through its lifecycle. This does not mean however, that it’ll be another 5 years before the PS4 releases. They can (and will) coexist for years, much like we saw the PlayStation 2 continue to sell well for years post-PS3 release.
The question of when Sony and Microsoft would unveil their next home consoles has been a topic of much speculation in recent months, especially in light of the confirmation of Nintendo’s Wii U.
Industry analyst Michael Pachter holds a belief that both companies will wait to see the reception of Wii U and its unique controller design before finalizing the design plans of their consoles (remember, they have to copy if it sells well a la Wii motion controls). He expects a 2013 unveil for a 2014 release of the PlayStation 4. David Cole of DFC Intelligence shares similar thoughts, emphasizing the pressure Sony would feel from the stockholders in taking a loss at launching another expensive home console so soon (even though Sony’s CFO said the PS4 would be cheaper to make), especially with the Vita coming up and the potential years still left for the PS3.
Jack Tretton publicly stated that the Wii U wasn’t a threat and it certainly wouldn’t cause Sony to rush their next hardware platform. So, reason and logic would dictate that would it will be a while before anything happens on the PS4 front even if its in development, and Sony will likely be the last of the “Big 3” to release their next home entertainment system.
Because of this, it’s therefore hard to hold the latest rumors from DigiTimes to any truth in their report from “sources” that Taiwan-based manufacturers, including PS3 manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron Technology, will begin production on PlayStation 4 consoles at the end of this year for a 2012 release. Their sources also point out that said console will feature Kinect-like motion controls.
Can you believe it? A new PlayStation console so soon! Don’t. It’s very unlikely.
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Header image edited from concept art found on Vizeer. Red-white design is a concept contest winner by Nebojsa Nadj.