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When Will PlayStation 4 Release?

By Jon Ireson in Industry Talk

PS4 PlayStation 4

***UPDATE*** The PS4 was announced after the publication of this article. Please check out the Full PlayStation 4 Reveal Show here. You can also find the latest PlayStation 4 news here. The release date is currently scheduled for Holiday 2013.

***UPDATE*** THE POST BELOW IS FROM BEFORE THE PS4 WAS ANNOUNCED:

Many people have been wondering when Sony will announce a PlayStation 4 home console to succeed the PlayStation 3 and usher in the next generation for Sony’s growing number of in-house and affiliated development studios. Although Sony practices the 10 year life cycle with all of their gaming hardware PS1 didn’t stop getting releases and hardware shipments in stores until years after its 10th birthday and PS2/PSP/PS3 are still on the market with new releases and hardware shipments.

Another thing to note is that Sony staggers its hardware deployments. Just because a PS4 releases doesn’t mean that the PS3 will stop getting new releases and hardware shipments, quite the opposite. PS3 will definitely continue to be stocked in stores and have new games releasing for it for years after the PlayStation 4′s release. Eventually the PS4 will overtake it in a great deal of demographics but Sony has proven with PS2 that they can keep a good thing going. Keep in mind, Sony originally invented this formula in an industry where abandon-ware exists. Microsoft and Nintendo are now attempting to implement extended support with their hardware lines as well.

So far what we know about the PlayStation 4 for sure, is that Sony wants the game developers to work directly with the hardware engineers who will be designing the machine and its architecture. This means that somewhere out there, someone knows about the design philosophy for the machine and is perhaps already participating in shaping the system of the future.

It’s also known widely known that Sony has no plans to abandon the CELL architecture. Sony’s quotes will also reflect that they plan to give developers an upgraded version of the same architecture. This will hopefully go a great length to keep the production costs down as well as keep developers happy and making games with ease. All of the breakthroughs made with the PS3 will be able to carry over to PS4 and the evolution will continue from there.

“The PlayStation 1 was first released in late 1994 in Japan and 1995 throughout the rest of the world. The PlayStation 2 hit stores in 2000, giving the PS1 a retail shelf life of 6 years from its Japanese launch. Likewise, the PlayStation 3 came out in 2006, 6 years after the release of the PS2. Following this trend that Sony has established would give us a late 2012 release for the PS4.”

This pattern should mean that the PS4 would be getting talked about already, announced at the previous E3 (or this years’) but many feel that this is not likely to happen. Eyes are on Microsoft to announce something and even then there are plenty of skeptics. Statements made by Sony may indicate that they plan to launch their next generation home console after Nintendo and Microsoft, further squashing hopes to see the PS4 soon.

Here is a compiled list of updates from specialty website PS4 Release Date HQ who has been keeping a close eye on the statements coming from the Sony camp and those who would be the ones to know of any next gen plans:

“Update – January 11th 2012
Sony President Shuhei YoshidaSony President Shuhei Yoshida recently laughed off comments when asked about the possibility of a Playstation 4 launch this year. During a Playstation Vita interview, CVG threw a number of questions at the big man but he shrugged them all off saying “We have no immediate plans for another home console announcement”. This could of course just be a way to create more hype and anticipation for Sony’s E3 announcements or, they may truly have no intention of releasing the Playstation 4 over the next year or two. Only time will tell, we’ll let you know what happens at E3.

Update – January 11th 2012
Sony's Deputy President Kazuo HiraiSony’s Deputy President, Kazuo Hirai, recently made several comments that have trashed rumors about Sony making a Playstation 4 related announcement at E3 this June. He mentioned the fact that the Playstation 3 has always been planned for a 10 year shelf life, although this doesn’t totally squash the possibility of a PS4 announcement as Sony continued to support the Playstation 2 years after the launch of the PS3. He also stated that Sony have yet to take full advantage of the capabilities of the Playstation 3 and they hope to do so using innovative technology such as the Playstation Move. Sony also plan to dedicate a lot more time and resources to the 3-D market “We are definitely, from a Sony perspective, very committed to 3-D,”.

Updates – January 2012
Sony’s Kaz Hirai has stated “we are not making any announcements at E3. I’ve always said a 10-year life cycle for PS3, and there is no reason to go away from that.” Keep in mind the PS2′s life cycle after the PS3 came out leaving the possibility for anything to happen…

Naughty Dogs Co-President Evan WellsIn a recent interview with Naughty Dog’s co-president Evan Wells expressed his concern above developing the next generation of games. During the interview he told Eurogamer that the company suffered “dark times” during the transition to the Playstation 3 but he hopes that the experience and wisdom they gained during that time, has better prepared them for the next generation of consoles.

Uncharted is arguably their most popular title so this pretty much confirms the release of Uncharted 4 on the Playstation 4 but will past ghosts reveal themselves and give Naughty Dog even more issues?

Although the interview didn’t really reveal any juicy gossip, it has confirmed that developers are aware of what will be required for PS4 games, suggesting that they may already have access to the developer tools. Previously, developers have gained access to these tools 1-2 years before the consoles release so using past experiences, we could be looking at a mid 2013 release, assuming we all haven’t burned up in a raging ball of apocalypse by then.

Update – December 2011
During a recent press event in London, head of Sony Europe, Jim Ryan, said that Sony did not want to fall too far behind when releasing the next generation Playstation. During the press conference he made it clear that the release of the upcoming Wii, as well as the rumors of the next Xbox, have spurred Sony on to push the release of their next generation console. The Wii-U will be released later this year and the rumored Xbox 720 is expected to be announced later this year, with a release date of 2013. The Playstation 3 launched a year after the Xbox360 and didn’t really suffer all that much, with the exception of the technical issues.

However, with the current state in the economy and the expected next generation prices to be even higher, can they afford to delay the release a year later than their competitors? The Wii-U isn’t really going to compete with with either the Xbox 720 or Playstation 4 as it’s clearly not designed for the more hardcore gamers but it still leaves you wondering if they can pull something out of the hat.

There has also been concern expressed over the developer tools. Rumors circulated several months ago that the developer tools for the Xbox720 games have already been deployed but there has been no hardcore evidence to suggest the same for the Playstation 4, the last thing Sony need is a bunch of rushed launch titles.

So what do you think? Can Sony afford to delay the launch of the Playstation 4 by a year or will the Xbox 720 capitalize on an extra year of sales?

Update – October 2011
Developers of the Uncharted franchise, one of the most successful to launch on the Playstation 3, made an announcement today in which they state “The Playstation 3 could not sustain another installment of Uncharted”. The announcement went into details about plans the developers had to improve the franchise but the current technological capabilities of the Playstation 3 would not be able to support such plans. This was a shocking announcement to the industry, with many of the experts arguing that the Playstation 3 has yet to be pushed to its true limits suddenly silenced by this information. What does this mean for me or you? The release date for the Playstation 4 is going to come sooner than most people are expecting.

Update – September 2011
Shuhei Yoshida SonyIn a recent interview with Sony’s Director of Global Operations, EuroGamer discovered that Sony are quite willing to discuss the next-gen console, it’s just that they don’t feel there is a need to. In the interview, Shuhei Yoshida went on to explain why Sony are in no rush to pump out announcements about the next-gen Sony console.

It basically boils down to the game developers, while they’re still able to improve their products using the Playstation 3, Sony see no need to develop and release the Playstation 4. Ubisoft and a few other companies have expressed their concerns that current hardware restrictions on the PS3, with the main problem being Ram, are reducing the quality of the games they could develop but industry experts have said a simple Ram upgrade could extend the shelf-life of both the Xbox360 and PS3 by several years but it’s not something we expect to see.

This console generation has seen some real innovative titles hit home consoles, games such as L.A Noire, Grand Theft Auto IV and Mass Effect proved that current generation consoles still have what it takes to give us a great gaming experience but is it the best we could get? It’s inevitable that Sony will release a next-gen console, the Wii-U is a year away, the Xbox 720 a year after that, Sony has been around a long time and is worth an estimated $60 billion, so it is safe to expect them to bring something to the table that can compete with Nintendo and Microsoft.

Sony doesn’t remain one of the most respectable companies on the planet by drawing the short straw, they know what sells and they know how to design it. It’s known that the Playstation 4 has been in development for some time now and it has been said that developers already have access to the SDK tools used to create new titles. Just because the juicy details about the PS4 haven’t been leaked yet, don’t assume they’re not there. With all the information accumulated on here and other PS4 fan sites, it’s confirmed that the Playstation 4 is coming, it’s just a matter of when…

Update – July 2011
A recent article on Digitimes (A highly respectable technology information resource) has claimed that Sony has filed for new components from a Taiwanese component developer. That same developer reported that the new components could be used for a Kinect style motion sensor for the Playstation 4. The article suggested that Foxxconn and Pegatron Technology will be used to create the new parts for Sony, both companies were involved in the making of the Playstation 3.

The article also reported that they will begin production at the end of this year with the hopes of a 2012 launch, some have speculated as much as 20 million Playstation 4 consoles will be ready for time of launch.

Sony has yet to make an official comment, watch this space!!

Update – E3 2011
SCEE Boss Andrew HouseGamers eagerly awaiting a Playstation 4 announcement were disappointed when SCEE boss Andrew House released a statement in an interview with Eurogamer

“From a Sony perspective, we’re very comfortable with PS3 and the way that market’s developing,”

Although they made it clear they have no intention of a Playstation 4 related announcement anytime soon they did show off their new 3D capability as well as the NGP/PSP2 now officially named Playstation Vita. They’ve waited 7 years after the release of the PSP to announce their next generation handheld, we could be waiting a similar length of time for an official Playstation 4 announcement, stay tuned!

Update – May 2011 - According to a recent article in Eurogamer, Sony has confirmed they’re directing finances to an undisclosed research and development project for a “Future Platform”. In the build up to E3, rumors about Project Cafe suggest Nintendo will announce the Wii-2 and developers have reported receiving prototype development tools for a new Microsoft product. Everyone is expecting an Xbox720 and Wii-2 announcement, we can hope that Sony has something as big to announce.

A quote from Sony’s chief Financial Manager Kato stated “For the home equipment the PS3 still has a product life, but this is a platform business, so for the future platform – when we’ll be introducing what product I cannot discuss that – but our development work is already under way, so the costs are incurred there.”

Update – June 2010 - In an interview with Gamespot at this year’s E3, Activision COO Thomas Tippl shed some up-to-date, though still quite vague light, on the PS4′s future release. When asked when he expected the next generation consoles to release, Tippl stated that it was unlikely they would see release within the next 2-3 years, as Activision still had no information on any new consoles. With development times for next gen games running 2-3 years on average, it makes sense that if the new consoles will come with third party games at launch (a near certainty), it will be at least 2 years from the time third parties first get the development toolkits in their hands to the point where the console releases. In the meantime all we can do is speculate and continue to wait.

Update – July 2009
Doom and Quake creator John Carmack- In a recent interview, Doom and Quake creator John Carmack speculated that Sony will likely attempt to be first to the dance floor with their new console, before Microsoft launches their next console. As talked about above, there is plenty of rationale in this line of thinking. On the other hand, Sony has long maintained they have a long-term plan for the PS3, and with the lower production costs of the new slim model PS3, and the increased sales of the new version, the PS3 may just be coming into its own. Whether Sony will try to launch before Microsoft (by all accounts Nintendo will actually launch first, but they’re not considered direct competition to the others like Sony and Microsoft are to each other) remains to be seen. Let us know what you think.”

[Updates via PS4PlayStation4]

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