Given the density of Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 rumors clogging up the internet, gamers could be forgiven for believing that Microsoft and Sony are, at any given moment, mere seconds away from officially announcing their new hardware. The next generation is coming, and it's coming soon, right?
Maybe not. In separate interviews, PlayStation France's Philippe Cardone and Microsoft France's Cedrick Delmax briefly discuss why 2012 won't be the year their respective companies transition to new hardware.
The background simmer of next-gen rumors and speculation fully boiled over these last few weeks. Reports that the Xbox 720 won't play used games fought for attention with rumors about Wii U's power, predictions about Xbox 720's power, and speculation that PS4 and Xbox 720 could be the end of consoles. It's a lot to take in, and not one fact has been unequivocally verified, as none of the companies involved comment on rumor and speculation.
While neither Microsoft nor Sony has been particularly open about plans for their future systems, the companies have been willing to speak about when consumers can expect to learn about those systems, a time-frame that can best be summed up as, "not soon."
Re-affirming Kaz Hirai's proclamation that there will be no PS4 announcement at E3 2012, PlayStation France's Philippe Cardone states that Sony may well be the last hardware manufacturer to announce its new system.
“It’s true that there are a lot of rumors, but I couldn’t tell you anything."
"We were the last to release PS3, and we will probably be the last to announce something.”
Though no next-gen system has been the focus of as many rumors as the Xbox 720, Microsoft France's Cedrick Delmax outright dismisses the possibility of a 2012 launch, and opines that E3 2012 may be too soon to reveal many details.
“We’re in an industry that talks a lot, that likes to tell stories. I am not convinced things will happen this year. Xbox 360â€²s cycle is not at all finished. The proof is that we don’t see the logic in cutting the price this year. E3 is still premature. What’s certain is that there’ll be nothing new in 2012.”
Delmax stops short of stating that Xbox 720 won't make its widely expected debut at E3 2012, leaving that possibility open for now.
Of course, there is a third player in this hardware race: Wii U. Nintendo's new system is set to launch at the end of the year, and even if they have no new hardware in the marketplace, Sony and Microsoft will still have to compete for mind share with Wii U. Cardone plays down the threat, noting that, "Wii is pressed for time because it’s in decline." Delmax appears to agree.
“We’re not here to counter Nintendo and they’re not here to fight the other manufacturers. Nintendo has put itself in a different cycle, they’re advancing at their own pace.”
Nintendo may be advancing at its own pace, but it is also setting the pace for the industry. Realistically, Sony and Microsoft have no choice but to fully reveal their new systems before Wii U is on store shelves. But if both pass up the opportunity of E3 2012 -- not a terrible decision, given how much focus will be on Wii U -- when do they make a move? What do you think?
Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken