Late last month, executive shake-ups at Sony prompted one Japanese analyst to make a bold prediction: Sony was moving out of the gaming-hardware business and focusing solely on software. "I cannot now imagine a PlayStation 4," said Nomura Securities' Yuta Sakurai.
Sony was quick to rebut the claim, with a rep telling GameSpot, "I think it would be rather shortsighted for anyone to predict there might not be a next generation of PlayStation product."
As for when to expect a new Sony console, one exec claims that the company's fans shouldn't expect the next PlayStation any sooner than the typical console life cycle allows. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe vice president of technology Paul Holman reportedly told Australian tech site Smarthouse that Sony will launch a PlayStation 4, but not any sooner than 2010.
Until then, Sony will continue to upgrade the PlayStation 3 through firmware updates that will allow "for the introduction of third-party applications and hardware such as interactive controllers similar to Nintendo's Wii…" the site reported. The PS3's current controller, the Sixaxis, already has motion- and tilt-sensing capability.
The PS3 may also come with a keyboard and mouse in the future, be able to download third-party operating systems, and become "as much a media center for the home as it is a gaming machine," said Holman. His words echo statements made by Sony executives that the PS3's online store will offer downloadable music and video content, much like iTunes and Xbox Live Marketplace currently do.
Requests for comment from Sony were unanswered as of press time.