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After Sony Corp. confirmed that it had started development of the PlayStation 4 game console, many market observers started to make predictions about the forthcoming gaming machine considering the fact that it would not be as breakthrough as Sony PlayStation 3 from technological point of view. At least some analysts do not believe in the success of the new system.

"I have always wondered if Sony would be able to make another console, so I guess it is good news that they are working on PS4. I am not sure that Sony is in a position to lose as much money on console system sales anymore and this undoubtedly puts Microsoft in the driver's seat for the next console cycle as they can take a bath on systems and make it back from software sales and XBL. It could mean that Sony isn't going to invest too much in developing from scratch by using more existing parts," said Asif Khan, an analyst with Panoptic Management Consultants, reports IndustryGamers web-site.

Sony invested tremendous amounts of money into PlayStation 3 game consoles, which is currently still the worst-selling system in the current generation behind Nintendo Wii and Microsoft Xbox 360. In particular, the consumer electronics giant co-developed Cell heterogeneous multi-core microprocessor with IBM and Toshiba and invested into chip manufacturing facilities, developed Blu-ray disc standard and spent money on BD replication plants, created a number of other technologies. Sony had been losing money on all PS3 consoles it sold for years after the introduction in 2006.

But that is not something that is going to happen to the PlayStation 4. The company is going to try to cut research & development as well as manufacturing costs. Partly, those expenditures should be reduced because the firm no longer plans to make major chips itself using proprietary manufacturing processes on its own fabs. In addition, the firm does not seem to have plans to create a new microprocessor for the console from scratch.

"What I think it means is 1) they are not going to be in a hurry to launch a PS4; 2) when they do launch a new system they are going to make sure the hardware is profitable. Obviously this may mean a higher price for the hardware; however, if Nintendo and Microsoft launch new systems first they may be able to be pretty high powered comparatively for a reasonable price," said David Cole, an analyst with DFC Intelligence.

Still, Sony cannot afford a "me too system" with minimum cost.

"If the PS4 is just a me too system when compared to Project Cafe and the next Xbox, it could fail. Which is pretty pathetic given the huge lead they had from PS2 momentum. [...] Management continues to lack any kind of vision. So yes, I think the risk of the next Xbox being better than PS4 is very high. Microsoft wants to win the next console war and it will most likely come down to them versus the Big N. XBL is a great platform and Microsoft is going to give it their all," said Mr. Khan.

What Sony will have to do is to reconsider its approach to game consoles. Instead of offering the best possible hardware, it may need a system with the best functionality.

"The consoles of the future will focus more on functionality and less on graphics. If we have learned anything from the onslaught of mobile and social games over the last three years, it is that consumers are beginning to prefer function, simplicity, and cross-entertainment integration," said Jesse Divnich, an analyst with EEDAR.

Naturally, nobody knows for sure whether Sony has already set the final specifications for the console and set the design targets. That said, everything can change in the several years.

"I think it is more than 3 years away, so pretty early to speculate. My view is that they started 'development' on PS4 when the PS3 launched, and felt compelled to disclose now because of Wii 2. They won't settle on final specs for another two years," said Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.

Tags: Sony, Playstation

Discussion

Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 05/30/11 03:37:21 PM
Latest comment: 05/31/11 04:18:33 PM
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1. 
Falling asleep here.
1 1 [Posted by: Harry Lloyd  | Date: 05/30/11 03:37:21 PM]
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2. 
There is no way Wii2 will be more powerful than PS4. It will have an R700 processor which is only DX10.1 spec. By the time PS4 ships, it should have at least a DX11 GPU built on 28nm if not 22nm. Either way, 3 years away is too far from today to speculate.
0 1 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/30/11 08:20:59 PM]
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- collapse thread

 
yeah but the PS4 is at least FOUR years away, and by that time the new Nintendo system will have a firm hold... again. If the Nintendo console is more powerful than the PS3 and 360, that's plenty powerful to run most anything most people want to play at this point. Sony blew it with the PS3, and that now affects the next 2 generations of consoles for them... and with Nintendo making HD beefed up versions of their series of games, it's all over.
0 0 [Posted by: tunacans  | Date: 05/30/11 09:29:04 PM]
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How is selling 50+ Million consoles blowing it? Everyone keeps saying that PS3 is dead last but compared to Xbox360 it's only 4 Million units behind worldwide. That's not the point though. Sure, the Wii sold more and is the better console from a business perspective. From a hardcore Gamer's perspective, the Wii is even worse than Nintendo 64. It has no good third-party games, and horrible graphics for its first party games to boot. N64 had better graphics than PS at least and had amazing games from Rare for example.

The only way for Wii2 to be successful for a 'hardcore' gamer is if it garners enough 3rd party develop support. Otherwise, these gamers could care less that it launches first. The biggest threat to PS4 isn't Wii2 imo but Xbox720 (or whatever it will be called). Now most developers are going cross-platform. This round PS3 had Blu-Ray and free PSN Network. What will separate it from Xbox720 if Xbox720 gets the same developers and better graphics? PS3's lack of superior graphics and Microsoft's better online support is what made it more difficult for PS3 to compete. Xbox720 should only improve on these aspects. I also foresee the next Xbox to increase its storage capacity for discs, therefore negating any advantage Blu-Ray would have for developing games.

I foresee the Wii2 to be lacking for hardcore gamers as usual. And now that all the casual gamers have purchased the original Wii (and it's collecting dust in their closet), how many of those 86 million buyers will reach out to get Wii2 for $300-350 or so (the rumored price)?
0 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 05/31/11 09:20:05 AM]
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3. 
i think for the most part, sony played a good hand.
they won the hd-dvd/blu-ray format war because of ps3.
they might be 3rd on the console race but it's not like
they are that far off in terms of number of units.
i think what this generation messed up on, for the most part,is the desensetizing of games. it's just not as fun anymore...
everything feels so generic.
1 0 [Posted by: goury  | Date: 05/31/11 12:46:04 AM]
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4. 
I really hope Sony does a deal with intel, Nvidia or AMD for the CPU + GPU side of their PS4...

Costs will be lower, compatability will be higher and the system will be cutting edge.
0 1 [Posted by: vid_ghost  | Date: 05/31/11 04:18:33 PM]
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