Calling Bullsh*t: PS4 in 2012


Today, several media outlets are reporting a rumor (presented as news) that production on the Playstation 4 will begin towards the end of the year, for release in 2012.

The source of the rumor, a manufacturing journal called Digitimes, is reporting that Sony’s Taiwan-based partners are gearing up for production, and that Foxconn and Pegatron will be building the units. Digitimes also “reports” that Sony expects to ship 20 million units in 2012.

Bullshit.

As we all know, the PS3 has had a troubled history since launch. Initially the system was just too damned expensive to get more than a handful of hardcore, if not well-off, Playstation fanboys on board. The software lineup was also a point of contention amongst gamers, as Sony actively tried to play down AAA, million selling franchises like Call of Duty, to focus more on their own 1st and 3rd party exclusives. The Sixaxis motion feature of the original DualShock 3 was a complete failure, as rumble had to be removed for it to be included, and it was poorly implemented into the few games did support it (save for Warhawk and flOw).

It took Sony 4 years, a system redesign and a hefty price drop to gain the market traction it has now.

Anyone who seriously thinks Sony would be so incredibly stupid as to take all the work they’ve done to get the PS3 where it is now, throw all of it away, and start completely from scratch with a new console is a complete fool.

Sony has long stated that the Playstation 3, a system specifically built to be somewhat future-proof, would have a supported lifespan of 10 years. At this point we’re halfway through that, why would anyone at Sony think now is a good time to abandon a system they’ve worked so hard to regain the install base they had for the PS2?

I’m positive that R&D on the PS4 is well underway, and probably has been for a few years now. I also wouldn’t doubt that Sony could be having some of the PS4’s components begin production this year. More than likely, though, I’m willing to bet we see a 3rd PS3 model shipped next year with better, cheaper components and another slight price drop, making it more accessible than ever and slightly offsetting the risk they’re taking withe PS Vita.

Remember, we started to hear rumbling about both the PS Vita and Xperia Play a good 2-3 years before any actual details surfaced. With the world being what it is today, there isn’t a snowballs chance in hell Sony is this close to a console launch and we’re just now hearing about it, it just doesn’t happen anymore.

It’s completely possible that Sony is prepping the PS4, having components manufactured and shipping out dev kits. It’s possible developers have had alpha-build dev kits for some time, and could even have a few games in some state of playability. The problem is that Digitimes’ report has no merit, and list no sources for the article other than “Taiwan-based manufacturers”. E3 2012 could see Sony unveiling the PS4, at least in the same capacity Nintendo showed off the Wii U at this years show.

Regardless, I’m inclined to believe the absolute earliest anyone will hear anything concrete about Sony’s next console will be 2013, at the absolute earliest, but I’d be more than happy to eat those words.

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