September 7th, 2009
03:52 AM GMT
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A new, slimmed-down version of PlayStation 3 hit store shelves across the world last week. But where is PlayStation 4?

According to game industry executives: A long way off.

It's been three years since the PS3 and Wii made their debut; four years since Microsoft released the Xbox 360. As the average console life-cycle is roughly around 4 to 6 years, we should be hearing rumblings about the successor to the current generation of consoles right about now.

Instead, industry figures are lining up to say how long this generation could last. Electronic Arts' CEO John Riccitiello spoke of an "extended hardware cycle" on an earnings call. Activision boss Bobby Kotick echoed those sentiments, while Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter told Edge he didn't expect the next hardware cycle to start until 2013 - if ever.

Why the wait? Microsoft and Sony spent billions of dollars to create the Xbox 360 and PS3 - money they'd like to recoup. Sony Computer Entertainment's Kaz Hirai admitted to the Times Online that they are losing money on each PS3 Slim they sell.

The exception is Nintendo. The company has steadily increased spending on research and development, from $34 million in the 2003 fiscal year to $430 million in 2009. Last year WhatTheyPlay.com reported that Nintendo was working on the next-generation Wii for 2011.

Another reason for an extended console cycle could be the ability of the current generation of consoles to update themselves via the Internet. Both the Wii and PS3 have added major features through software updates, while the Xbox 360's interface was completely redesigned last year. And Microsoft has promised to add more functionality at the latest this year, including Facebook and Twitter.

The "Big Three" are hoping these moves to freshen up existing models will keep consumers  from relegating the current generation of consoles to the closet.


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soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Mike

    These consols cost alot of money its stupid to start talking about the next generation and relegating our 360's and PS3's to the closet.

    I'd like to point out that I got a PS2 when I was 11, i'm 22 and it still works as well as the day i got it and trust me, it got a lot of use!

    September 7, 2009 at 6:08 am |
  2. Jewel

    Ditto what Mike said. The Playstation2 is still one of the best-selling consoles and games for it are still being made.

    As for the PS3 and 360 (especially the PS3), the actual game coding is so much more complex than anything that came before that there's a learning curve, and devs are only just starting to get their teeth into what can and can't be done with the consoles.

    This is not like going from 8-bit to 16-bit, and with (linear) games that could be completed in under five hours. Games now are beginning to crawl their way out of the uncanny valley and have open game play (sandbox games), which require a lot more work, time, and money to produce. Neither game devs nor the hardware makers want new systems to come out right now, because it would be ridiculous, and they'd have to start over just as they got into things, and for pretty much no graphical upgrades or improvements. Honestly, what could a PS4 or a 720 provide right now, other than a money suck for the makers, frustration at starting from zero for the game devs, and graphics that are only marginally, if that (some late cycle PS2 games look better than early cycle PS3 games), better?

    The full potential of the current consoles hasn't been reached yet; talk of new consoles is completely premature. Sony themselves said they expected this console cycle to last ten or eleven years, and given the sophistication of the consoles and how the devs are just now starting to really work with everything they have to offer...that sounds about right to me.

    September 7, 2009 at 7:18 am |
  3. Dio44

    I disagree. A wait of 3-4 more years will put TV and home theatre tech leaps and bounds beyond the gaming hardware. 3D TV is slated for 2010 with new HDMI cables, BlueRay players and everything with them. Internet bandwidth continues to increase almost every quarter to most homes and the hardware in at least the XBox and Wii are sadly outdated.

    In the coming year we will see the PS3 pull away in gaming performance and they will close the gap with XBox in the on-line arena. Wii maybe fun (and it is), but the 10 year old mii and game graphics are terrible. The functionality and imagination of the system is great, but going from 3D TV to block art games just isn't going to happen for most.

    There is also the double edged sword of the programmers. On one hand, they are just getting into the groove with these systems and really turning out amazing work getting the most out of them. On the other, hardware limitations are going to put a ceiling on performance and begin to limit creativity in the near future. Once games are progressively getting more appealing and interactive the consumer interest will fade. Take a popular game like Call of Duty. Feel free to play World at War, and then go back and play CoD 3. CoD3 was amazing just 1.5 years before, but seems like playing atari compared to the new versions.

    Consumers (especially American consumers) expect this type of continuous advancement and will not accept less.

    September 7, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  4. Dio44

    ...oh, and also "The new, slimmed down PS3 suggests that PS4 is years away" is crazy. Making a slimline model allows for manufacturing to take advantage of cheaper/better assembly and developing tech (greater stability and cheaper) to get the same performance out of a cheaper box. This requires little to no R&D costs and is purely a path to cost savings. Slimline PS2 anyone?

    The XBox has gone through the exact same thing, but with an appropriate sized unit so the size didn't change. 3 to 4 mainboards already and the addition of HDMI out on the black box.

    Sure customer complaints on the PS3 size and ease of collecting scratches played a role in the changes, but cost savings is why those changes occur.

    September 7, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  5. BenK

    Good news in my opinion. They haven't brought out a game on PS3 that is utilizing even a "quarter" of what the CPU is capable of. They (Sony) would do much better with a global price reduction on the actual games themselves, which out price X Box games by up to 25% !!.

    September 7, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  6. kousha

    To be honest Im more interested in knowing the hardware specification of PS4 than PS4 itself. Should we say parralel 10GHZ CPU and 1GB Graphic card & RAM? Wow man imagine how would the graphics be like!

    September 7, 2009 at 10:03 am |
  7. Diep LE

    1 thing 4 sure is that I cant afford a new PS3or X-Box. but im still satified with my PS2 :D

    September 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  8. Pffffftttt....

    So glad that so many of you wanna be marketing strategists & programmers responded to this article....boredome runs amok.

    September 7, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  9. Aaron

    None of the currently-released games uses the full potential of the PS3 - only the upcoming "Uncharted 2" is rumored to be even close to what the console is capable of.

    As for the XBOX360, many games take full advantage of its hardware, so I would expect to see this console updated sooner rather than later. The "limitation" of having DVD media (instead of Blu-ray) is holding it back.

    Many games on the PS3, including the upcoming Final Fantasy XIII, utilize the full capacity of the Blu-ray disc for gameplay, which is nearly 6 times what a single DVD disc can hold.

    Some analysts thought that the Wii's lack of HD-resolution graphics would hold it back. Nintendo was right - it's all about the games. HDTVs aren't in as many households as what was projected, so the lack of HD graphics didn't make a big difference.

    Going forward, however, people are starting to expect the level of realism that the PS3 and XBOX360 can provide, which is why the Wii will likely be the first console to be updated. It also helps that Nintendo is not losing money on each Wii sold, unlike Sony and Microsoft.

    September 7, 2009 at 3:47 pm |
  10. OptillBrieptpak

    I want to get surround sound for my PlayStation 3 and I was wondering if you have any recommendations on what I should get. When I check out best buy it all "theater systems". I just want surround sound, not a new blue rye DVD etc. I am also planning on what type of HD/LCD TV, what type should I get. (I play Call of Duty 5, games like that) Website links will and store names will help. Any help?

    November 26, 2009 at 4:41 am |
  11. Katie Patel

    Playstation is the best gaming console that i have owned. Me and my brother are addicted in playing games on Playstation.~'*

    May 5, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  12. Gabriella Adams

    Playstation is a bit expensive but i own two of them":

    October 5, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  13. Shower Pump 

    Playstation games are very good specially those racing games like Need For Speed~`-

    October 20, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  14. Chipboard Sheets ·

    the new generation of Playstation offers lots of features and they also render better graphics ::

    November 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
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