Rumor Control: Playstation 4 in 2012

Jul 11, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Rumor Control, Tech Blog

The rumor mill has been working overtime recently and a batch of unconfirmed reports point to the announcement and release of the Playstation 4 in 2012, with Digi Times even claiming that manufacturing is due to start very soon.

Humph.

These PS4 rumors seem to have come out of no-where but we need only look a few years (6 to be exact) back to see that they might not be as absurd as you might think. We’ll begin, oddly, by looking at Microsoft…

Microsoft seems hell bent on burning the core gamer and concentrating instead on grabbing a piece of the Wii pie by appealing to the casual audience through Kinect. The problem with that is Nintendo swallowed the pie whole and there’s barely enough crust or crumbs left for Microsoft. (C’mon it’s core gamers who were promised a ‘core’ experience that are buying Kinect, not grandma and grandpa…).

With a lackluster lineup of AAA exclusives 2 years running now  (ol’ faithful Halo and Gears of War headlining the usual suspects), it’s almost a dead cert that Microsoft will, at the very least, announce the successor to the 360 next year.

With that prediction generally agreed, there’s a case to be made for Sony wanting to avoid the bungled launch of the PS3, and indeed the 1 year lead in sales (and more importantly, market share) that the 360 accomplished in 2005. Does Sony really want to risk the 720 running away with the “next gen” market share and settling for 3rd party PS4 ports until they get up to speed? Well, they’ve been burdened with that fate in the current gen, and despite a valiant comeback, I doubt even Sony consider it an ideal position for future consoles.

No, much better to launch at the same time, or earlier, as the 720. Gain the lead in sales, market share and 3rd party support and trounce the competition. Suddenly it seems quite plausible that the PS4 could launch in 2012, a mere 6 years since the PS3 launched.

6 Years, eh? Huh.

The original Playstation launched in Japan in 1994. The Playstation 2 was then released (in Japan) 6 years later in 2000. The Playstation 3 was released 6 years later in 2006.

Maybe the much touted “10 year cycle” is actually Sony “dog years” for 6 human years? In any case, a 2012 launch would continue the Playstation tradition of releasing 6 years apart. Coincidence or impeccable Japanese time keeping? Either way, 2012 is looking like a real possibility.

There’s one final point to make that is probably the most important to actually giving this rumor some weight.

Sony is awful at keeping secrets.

I’m not really a fan of the “if there’s smoke, there’s fire” line, but when it comes to Sony, past rumors really give that old adage credit. Nothing from Sony is ever a surprise because it’s often leaked or reported on months before release. The PSP Go, PS Vita, even Move was ousted long before the tech demos. They just can’t keep a secret.

As for the whole “kinect like” motion control… meh. You can argue the place (or relevance) of motion control in the next generation of gaming amongst yourselves. In this case, the inclusion/exclusion of such a feature wouldn’t affect the outcome of what’s being discussed here:  Will the Playstation 4 be released in 2012?

Techshaft Verdict:

We expect an Official Playstation 4 announcement in 2012 but we’re not convinced by a 2012 release, primarily because it just feels too early. But this is a tricky rumor and Sony may get the jump on us. Historically (and you could argue, logically) everything stacks up for a (late) 2012 release and with the Wii U (It should have been called the “Yuu”) due in 2012, the Xbox 720 expected for 2012, we could be gearing up for a 3 way street fight.

If so, the prospect of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo each launching their respective next gen console in late 2012 could actually be the catalyst that ends the world on December 21st.

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