By Jared Newman | Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm
If the Playstation 4 really is a distant thought on Sony’s mind, then the latest rumor from DigiTimes is a longshot: Sony’s not only thinking about a new console, the publication’s sources say, it’s starting production this year and will launch the Playstation 4 in 2012.
DigiTimes doesn’t provide many details on the rumored console itself, except that it’ll have body movement-based controls like Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox 360. Foxconn and Pegatron Technology will reportedly assemble the PS4, with a planned shipment volume of at least 20 million units in 2012.
That shipment estimate is the biggest reason to be skeptical of this report. Sony launched the Playstation 3 mid-way through its 2006 fiscal year, and only shipped 5 million units through Q4. After that, when Sony started reporting sales instead of shipments, the PS3 took two years to reach 20 million sales. For 20 million Playstation 4 shipments to make sense in 2012, initial demand would have to be unprecedented.
The timing is also a bit strange in light of Sony executives’ comments on future console plans. In February, Sony Computer Entertainment head Kaz Hirai said that “we’re not deliberating on a PS4 or a next generation machine, whatever you call it.” In May, Masaru Kato, Sony’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, explained higher research and development costs by saying work on a new console had begun. But he later clarified that he was actually talking about Sony’s next-generation portable, and wasn’t acknowledging that a Playstation 4 was in development.
Besides, Sony wants the Playstation 3 to have at least a 10-year life cycle, so launching the Playstation 4 on its predecessor’s sixth birthday seems premature.
Most rumors, I believe, have at least a kernel of truth. Chances are, Sony is starting to work on a new console. Microsoft is probably doing the same, and Nintendo is well on its way. But while home game consoles are starting to show their age, I’m not convinced that Sony’s so close to making the leap.