PlayStation 4 development 'under way' - Sony

Sony Corp. CFO says that increased game-division R&D costs are indeed stemming from development of "future platform"; NGP still due in 2011.

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Following its annual earnings report this morning, Sony has confirmed it is working on a successor to the PlayStation 3. In a post-report conference call, Sony executive vice president and chief financial officer Masaru Kato was queried about an increase in research and development costs for the company.

Work on the next PlayStation is already under way.

When asked what the "major driver" of R&D costs was, Kato said--via a translator--that one was "prototype research work, development work during the current fiscal year in [the] game segment."

He continued, "We have a portable NGP to be launched later this year, so we have development expenses to be incurred for this product and for the home equipment. The PS3 still has a product life, but this is a platform business, so for the future platform--when we'll be introducing what product I cannot discuss that--but our development work is already under way, so the costs are incurred there." (Emphasis added.)

Kato's comments come as Sony's competitors are gearing up their own next-generation console efforts. In April, Nintendo confirmed rumors of a Wii successor by announcing that the console will be playable at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next month. (The console itself will go on sale in 2012.) In March, Microsoft posted job listings for a range of "next generation" Xbox development positions to work on "future platforms."

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