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Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., the developer of the PlayStation game consoles used to say that the PlayStation 3 would live for a decade, however, now the company claims that the PlayStation 4 will come in 2010 or beyond. Meanwhile, as the company shuffles its execs, some analysts anticipate that there would be no successor for the PS3 at all.

Execs Shuffled As No PlayStation 3 Consoles Seen in Stores

The launch of the Sony PlayStation 3 game console, the highest-anticipated game console among the new generation of gaming machines, has not been triumphant for Sony, as the company faced manufacturing issues and could not deliver enough game machines to customers. Moreover, the amount of game titles and accessories for the PlayStation 3 obtainable now is lower than that for Nintendo Wii and is much lower than that of Microsoft Xbox according to checks of online store.

While the launch of the PlayStation 3 cannot be called an unsuccessful, as the demand for the game console is tremendous and the main problem that Sony has is production-related, analysts claimed that the limited availability of the PS3 has sources in poor product management on the first place.

Recently Sony shuffled executives at its Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) game arm. Effective December 1, 2006, Ken Kutaragi, president and group chief executive, was appointed as chairman and group CEO, while Kaz Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), was appointed as president and group chief operating officer of SCEI.

PlayStation 4 Destiny Unknown

Mr. Kutaragi is generally known as the father of the PlayStation and has engineering background. Mr. Hirai, however, came to SCEA from Sony’s music entertainment division, has marketing background and is believed to have better working relationships with game developers that Mr. Kutaragi. Following the shuffle of the executives, at least one analyst said that SCEI is going to change the direction of the whole division and concentrate mostly on games rather than hardware.

“The appointment of Hirai could be the start of a shift from hardware to software. I cannot now imagine a PlayStation 4,” said Yuta Sakurai, an analyst at Nomura, Financial Times reports.

Still, the appointment of Mr. Hirai does seem logical, as Sony is subsidizing PlayStation 3 manufacturing by up to $306 and it is crucial for Sony to get the money back as soon as possible with the help of successful sales of games. Therefore, it may be too early to talk about the end of the PlayStation-series.

“To say that there will be no PlayStation 4 because of a management change is a bit far fetched,” said vice president of technology for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, Paul Holman, in an interview with Smarthouse web-site. He also indicated that the PlayStation 4 would be launched by Sony, but not until at least 2010.

In fact, Sony is fundamentally a manufacturer of electronics, which means that the company is more than likely to continue with the PlayStation-series. However, the poor availability of the PS3 is not the only problem that Sony has faced in the recent quarters. Massive recall of notebook batteries, withdrawal from plasma TV market, abandoning Qualia “boutique brand” and pulling out of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) for PCs business and failure to capture the market of digital music players, not to mention slow start of the Sony-backed Blu-ray standard, emphasize that there are problems within Sony as a producer of electronics as well.


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