Playstation 4 Release Date Headquarters (Continually Updated)
While the PlayStation 3 is just now hitting its stride, and has its best days still ahead of it, Sony is not one to rest on its laurels, and with the intense competition in the video game world at present, plans for the PlayStation 4's future release are already being put into motion. In fact not only is the PlayStation 4 getting this treatment, but even the PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 6 are in the early stages of planning and conceptualization at Sony's R&D labs.
Although we've yet to see what the PS3 can fully do when really put through its paces (in fact Sony states that games currently on the market are not even close to pushing the system to its full potential), the thought of an even more powerful console looming on the horizon has gamers worried about the holes it will leave burning in their pockets, but giddy at the possibilities of what this new behemoth of a console will be able to pull off. Just imagine the hardware on this thing, it will be insane!
The Question Everyone Wants the Answer To...
As a result, the question on everyone's mind is, when will the PlayStation 4 see the light of day?!?!? While Sony has not released any official information concerning the system's future launch, the generally accepted release date is pegged as late 2012, which would follow the trend of Sony's previous console generations. 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.
Other rumours have also circulated of late which backs up these claims. At last year's Game Developer's Conference in Germany, the CEO of Crytek announced that his company's development of their next-generation graphics engine, the CryEngine3, will release in 2012, around the same time as the PlayStation 4. Although he stated he had no concrete information that the PS4 would be released around this time, and that even if he did, he would not be at liberty to share that information, he expected this to be the release window of the new system.
The Business of Sales (Or How to Get a PS4 Sooner by Not Buying a PS3)
It's possible that how the PlayStation 3 fares in the current console war may also determine the release date of the PS4, for a couple of reasons. If the system continues to flounder in 3rd place in the console wars, failing to generate the revenue which was initially expected of it, Sony may be far more eager to cut their losses and rush the PS4 to market sooner rather than later, possibly as early as late 2011.
If the PS3 does indeed fail to make ground on the Wii and Xbox 360, it may also convince Sony to try and jump the gun on the next generation console wars and get their system out the door first. Both the PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2, which dominated their generations of the console wars, came to market at the same time or earlier than their competition. The PlayStation 1 was launched just after the Sega Saturn, and well before the Nintendo 64, while the PlayStation 2 was released before both the Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube.
This enabled Sony to get a head start on the competition and gave developers time to build their skills at developing games for the console, to the point that even as more powerful consoles came after, games released on the older system were just as good technically, providing no real incentive for players to move to the new consoles.
This same effect has worked against the PlayStation 3 to some extent, as though considered to be far more powerful than the Xbox 360, the one year head start the 360 received has allowed developers to more quickly maximize the system's potential, resulting in games that rivaled games on the PS3 when it released. Only as the system's life spans come to an end will we likely see the PlayStation 3 come out with games that clearly trump what the 360 can do graphically.
How Sony plans to play their hand is cause for much speculation. What we do know is that the PlayStation 4 is coming sooner than we may think, and it will take gaming to a whole new level.
Let us know what you think. Will we see the PlayStation 4 within the next 2-3 years, or is the release further off? Feel free to comment below. You can also join our forums to voice your opinion on everything PlayStation.
Update - July 2009 - 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.
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 - 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 - E3 2011
Gamers 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 - 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!!