Shortly after the release of the Sony PS3, rumors have been swirling around the world wide web about a potential PS3 successor. Introducing the Playstation 4, VP of Technology for Sony Entertainment Europe has responded to speculation by suggesting the release of a next generation console is “probable”. This statement has only fueled the rumor mill, with claims that a new console may be hitting stores as early as 2011.
The internet is awash with supposed PS4 hard specifications and potential release dates. The truth of the matter is however, that there have been no official announcements from Sony other than the console is merely in the “development stages”. It is likely with PS3 sales continuing strongly, that a new console will not become a reality before 2013 at the earliest. This will please many gamers who struggled to afford the PS3′s expensive price tag of between $ 500-$ 600 upon it’s release, the most expensive pricetag for a console yet.
Sony will be monitoring market trends and PS3 sales over the next 18-24 months to assess whether a Playstation 4 is even required in the forseeable future. Many gamers believe the full potential of the PS3 has not been unlocked yet and they see significant hidden improvements in the console. Sony need to be careful not to fall short of Microsoft again however, as they suffered significantly reduced sales when they were beaten to release of the PS3 by the Xbox 360 – something Sony cannot afford to happen again.
Speculators suggest that Sony may consider releasing two versions of the future console, both with, and without Blu Ray technology. This would give consumers the chance to buy a console for much less, if they wished to opt for the console without Blu Ray technology.
This would, of course, help Sony to gain a market share by appealing to a target audience. With the current economic climate, Sony will feel pressured to create a new console which is both affordable, and ground breaking, and they need to do it before Microsoft release the rumored ‘Xbox 720′.
Our view is that the major players in the console market will aim for a Pre-Christmas release of their next consoles, in either 2012 or 2013. This is sure to create a mixed response between gamers, especially as Sony in the past has given the PS3 a “10 year lifespan”, which would mean a new console shouldn’t hit stores until around 2016/2017.
It remains to be seen whether Sony will beat both Microsoft, and indeed Nintendo (Wii 2), to the market with their next console. With so much rumor and speculation surrounding the console industry at the present time, its definately uncertain times ahead for gamers, but insiders are indeed tipping Sony, this time, to lead the way.
James Papworth is a UK based writer for http://www.ThePS4Forums.com.
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