With Nintendo due to launch its next generation game console, the Wii U, sometime in 2012. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are both in the longest console cycle we’ve ever seen, and while there are rumors that Microsoft will announce an Xbox 720 at next year’s E3 (which Crytek has since denied), Sony is looking to unveil a PlayStation 4 sometime next year as well.
If Microsoft does announce a new system, we could certainly see Sony feeling the pressure not to be a year behind its rival again, as it was with Xbox 360. As for Nintendo, the pending release of Wii U could also be a factor as the competition observes how well the tablet controller idea is received.
Sony revealed its Playstation 3 console over a year before the console was actually launched, so an early reveal for the PS4 is not without precedent. However, Industry Games chatted with some game-themed financial analysts who expressed doubt that Sony would actually reveal a PS3 successor next year. Wedbush Securitites analyst Michael Pachter is quoted as saying that new consoles from both Sony and Microsoft won’t actually come out before 2014, with reveals in 2013. He states, “Wii U isn’t going to pressure anyone, it’s Nintendo’s catch up to this cycle, and the other guys are going to see if the tablet integration is worth copying first. That means nobody is going to finalize specs till they see if Wii U succeeds.”
David Cole of DFC Intelligence, believes that Sony needs to keep the PS3 console as its first priority for a while longer, saying that an early PS4 reveal “would mean a major loss and an early end to the PS3, which if it can last several years longer could start making some decent money for the company. Yes, they will feel pressure from the competition, but I think pressure from investors and the financial community wins the day.”
Ultimately, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo all have to take a long, hard look in the mirror and think about what the future of this business really will be. “The interactive entertainment industry is rapidly evolving and broadening. No longer is the idea of ‘video games’ limited to a traditional console and a PlayStation-style controller and the inability to play these touch and social games on traditional consoles are hindering factors for all three major players,”