PlayStation 4: Coming in 2012?

PlayStation 4: Coming in 2012?

Waiting for the unveiling of the next generation of game consoles has been a bit like watching Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft play a drawn-out match of “Who Can Stay Quiet the Longest.” Nintendo finally cracked at E3 2011 and revealed its hand with the Wii U. As for Microsoft and Sony, they’re still playing the game. The question is, “For how long?”

According to rumor, IndustryGamers has heard from a “top developer” who says that Sony is looking to unveil the PlayStation 4 at E3 2012. It’s only speculation at this point, but there is some merit to the rumor: One of the bigger reasons the PlayStation 3 failed to gain momentum for so long is because it was released after the Wii and the Xbox 360 already had established audiences. Sony knows firsthand that people aren’t always willing to wait in order to possess the very best in gaming technology. If anything, this long console dry spell has made people impatient to move on. Sony probably wants to help move its fans onto whatever platform comes next.

However, several industry analysts told IndustryGamers that holding our breath in anticipation for the PlayStation 4’s unveiling may well wind up with us passing out and banging our heads on our coffee tables. Between the launch of the Vita, the under-realized PlayStation Move, and the fact the PlayStation 3 is only just beginning to turn a profit, Sony might be content to sit back and see where Nintendo goes with the Wii U.

Wedbush Securitites analyst Michael Pachter believes Sony will do exactly that for a specific reason: It wants to see if Nintendo’s touch-screen integration is “worth copying.”

“[N]obody is going to finalize specs till they see if Wii U succeeds,” said Pachter, who also stated that the Wii U is a “catch up” console and therefore doesn’t put the heat directly to Sony and Microsoft..” I am sticking to [a 2014 release date], so an ‘unveil’ in 2013.”

Other investors chimed in, but the general consensus is that while Sony is on the mend, it’s not in a position to announce a new console next year, and therefore probably won’t. Jesse Divnich of EEDAR also pointed out that the very definition of “video games” has changed, and suggested that Sony might even be looking to follow Microsoft’s example by pushing “complete entertainment mediums” instead of traditional “game consoles.” Divnich also said he believes Sony and Microsoft were hurting themselves by hanging onto their old consoles instead of upgrading and encouraging new games and properties.

“I don’t feel the Wii U is a threat to either Microsoft or Sony’s current platforms,” he said. “I believe the biggest threat remain themselves and their attempt to elongate this current cycle. The data is pretty clear; it is incredibly tough to launch successful new IPs late in a cycle, as there is simply too much consumer muscle memory that hinders our desire to play new IPs.”

Of all the analysis in IndustryGamers’ piece, Pachter presents the likeliest scenario: Sony may well be waiting to see if consumers accept the Wii U tablet, and to what degree. Core gamers overwhelmingly prefer traditional d-pad controls to motion controls of any kind. But will they accept a tablet, especially if that tablet includes a d-pad, buttons, and two analog sticks? From its position, Sony can improve on Nintendo’s technology, though it would obviously be a late implementation because (we assume) engineering plans for the PlayStation 4 will be far along, if not complete, by the time the Wii U launches.

Of course, waiting for Nintendo to move first might bite Sony in the butt. It’s speculated that the company assembled its Sixaxis PlayStation 3 motion controller after Nintendo unveiled the Wii’s motion-based controller. The Sixaxis was poorly engineered and was not received well by gamers or developers. If Sony apes Nintendo again, people will not hesitate to point out what Sony’s up to, and the company’s reputation will take a hit–especially if Sony’s tablet controller is shoddy next to Nintendo’s version.

On the other hand, if gamers wind up being disappointed by “yet another gimmick controller from Nintendo,” Sony will be in an excellent position to say, “Forget that, we have your old friend, the DualShock!”

Overall, Sony has enough on its plate without worrying about a PlayStation 4 E3 2012 debut. It’s not likely we’ll see it. But E3 2012 is a long way off, and even the E3 2011 unveiling of the Wii was a surprise, as Nintendo had stated that it wanted to sell more Wii’s before showing off the Wii U. Who’s to say Sony won’t pull a similar surprise? The unpredictability of the games industry is simultaneously fun and maddening.

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About Nadia Oxford
Nadia is a freelance writer living in Toronto. She played her first game at four, decided games were awesome, and has maintained her position since. She writes for 1UP.com, Slide to Play, GamePro and other publications, and is About.com’s Guide to the Nintendo DS.

3 Comments

  1. It is rumored that the sony ps 4 will be coming out in 2012. 🙂

    So I hope you are right on this and that the sony ps 4 does come out in 2012 because then I can play it faster. 😀

  2. I think I am going to go with Pachter on this one.

    The PS3 and 360 are both waiting till 2013 to unveil because they can’t afford to forfeit the profit the current consoles are generating just yet

    Nor do MS or Sony have access to low enough costs of goods to make a their succeeding home consoles differentiated enough (from the PS3/360) at an acceptable price (unless sold at a massive loss, which is a no go this time around).

    I expect 2014 launches at earliest on both consoles, this will put the Wii U in a literal “Dreamcast position” (launching earlier, being a half step between the 7th and 8th gen of home consoles).

  3. PS4 should be coming out in 2012 because it was six years ago that the PS2 came out. Plus the PS1 came out in 1994-1995.

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