PlayStation 4 due next year?

Source: A report on the Web site of Australian lifestyle and tech magazine Smarthouse cites a Sony insider as providing information that the company might be planning a PlayStation 4 to release in as little as 18 months. What we heard: Upon first glance, the very suggestion that Sony would release...

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Source: A report on the Web site of Australian lifestyle and tech magazine Smarthouse cites a Sony insider as providing information that the company might be planning a PlayStation 4 to release in as little as 18 months.

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What we heard: Upon first glance, the very suggestion that Sony would release the PS4 in the next year and a half is absurd. The company invested heavily into the research and development of the PlayStation 3, and there's functionally no way it could make its money back and justify that expense after only a couple of years on the market.

Sony has also been vocal about wanting to extend the life span of its consoles to a decade, something that isn't likely to happen if the PS3 only has two years as the company's premiere offering. And then there would be the resulting looting, riots, and pillaging (hyperbole used for effect) from Sony fans who shelled out $600 for the latest and greatest on layaway, only to have it become old news by the time it was paid off.

However, if one were to keep reading the article, one might suspect that it is not in fact about the PlayStation 4, but about something more akin to the Xbox 360 Elite.

"The device will include the same chipset as the current PS3 but where it will differ from the current model is in the drive bay and in the attachment area," the article reads. "It will also include an extensive software suite for the managing of content being streamed to a TV or Hi-Fi source. In addition, Sony is working on improving the output experience so that the device can become a true home entertainment centre eliminating the need for a media centre."

Unless Sony's marketers have gone nuts, they aren't likely to label a machine with the same chipset and a small array of new features as the PS4. This sounds more like a simple redesign and a firmware upgrade, the sort of changes that could reduce costs for Sony but not even justify a different name or casing for the system. Even if it does wind up being a new PlayStation product, expect something along the lines of the PSX, the combination PlayStation 2-digital video recorder released exclusively in Japan in 2003.

The official story: "This is purely a speculative report. We haven't made any announcements regarding future platforms and are focused on the current and future success of PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and PlayStation 3." --A Sony spokesperson.

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus.

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