PS4 in <5 years?

Interesting thread at Evil Avatar on whether Sony might shorten the PS3’s life cycle.

Makes sense to me. If you think of this generation as the role reversal of Sony and Microsoft – Microsoft being first to ship the 360, with a cheaper-to-manufacture console; Sony being second with a more expensive console – and if you remember last generation where Microsoft killed the XBox early because it was never gonna make much money… well, you wind up with the odds being that a new generation of post-Kutaragi Sony management will decide to terminate the overly expensive PS3 albatross that much sooner, and ship a cheaper, more profitable PS4 earlier than would otherwise have been the case.

Net result: Microsoft and Sony competing much more directly on price; console lifecycles shortened by another year; and console installed base starting to grow much more quickly due to overall lower cost.


It’s just stupid enough that Sony would do it!

If they shorten the lifecycle, they have to make BC work or they are going to lose developers. 5 years is enough that even an ambitious game can start after the console’s launch and still make it during that console’s lifespan. 4 years, and it starts entering grey areas. Ultimately it would mean that developers of a game with a projected average development time of 2.5 years would only have a window of 1.5 years to actually start developing. Outside of that window, and they’d enter the area where they’d be shipping for an old platform.

Dangerous waters, these.

I recall the number 4 being indicative of bad luck in China and Japan. They’ll probably call it the Sony 400 (a higher number than 360). Or the Sony 800 (higher than 720 and also including “8,” which is a lucky number).

What’s more interesting to me is that developing for the “PS4” at this stage sounds like a philosophical abandonment of the PS3, and it’s barely out the door.

Why would a PS4 be cheaper for Sony than the PS3? My understanding is that the Xbox1 cost MS lots of money because they had to license all the tech, whereas the PS3 costs a lot because it has Blu-Ray, which Sony doesn’t have to pay license fees for.

Of course they have to shorten the live cycle they are a year behind. Next time when there is a new xbox there better have to be a new ps too.

Never believe stories taken out of context from a statement made by a software company executive who isn’t in a position to know anything like that to begin with, especially when the topic at hand is on an off-hand remark like “where will we be in 5 years”, with the enthusiasts clearly putting much more emphasis and evaluation on the throwaway number than the speaker ever put into choosing it to begin with.

Because they might choose not to include blu-ray with every box, and they might choose a cheaper processor architecture than Cell. In other words, they might try to build a cheap console, rather than a Discipline For Everyone Uber Performance Machine. I’m not saying they will, I’m just asking whether they might.

What Andrew said, Sony’s PS3 will drop in price significantly year after year, the original Xbox lost money throughout its entire life.

I doubt anyone will significantly decrease the console lifecycle anymore. If anything, I expect it to just keep getting longer, for the reasons Charles already mentioned.

I don’t think Microsoft would have gotten away with the lifecycle shortening they did with the 360’s release as well as they did if not for it coinciding with the period in which HDTV started being semi-affordable, and I don’t expect we’ll see another resolution bump like HDTV for a long, long time. That, coupled with development schedules always getting longer means longer console lifespans.

I don’t think you can make that claim so easily. Sega actually started the last generation (early) and Sony came in with a more expensive system. Microsoft just came way later with an even MORE expensive system. Though really, both systems probably cost the same to manufacture when they were first released.

and if you remember last generation where Microsoft killed the XBox early

I’m probably alone in this, but I don’t think Microsoft “killed the Xbox early.” It’s more like they launched it late, and shipped the 360 on time.

They came in late with the Xbox, probably too late. But shortly after doing so, they took at look at console life-cycles and when the Dreamcast, PS2, and Gamecube launched (first global availability, that is) and said "okay the typical cycle is 5-6 years. Let’s target end of 2005 for the 360 launch.

Remember, the original date for the PS3 was going to be Spring 2006. They were going to be less than 6 months behind Microsoft. If MS has given the Xbox it’s “full lifespan” they would have been a year behind Sony, AGAIN.

This time around, I think Sony and Nintendo are launching a bit late. It matters little to Nintendo, since they’re not competing to be the latest and greatest but rather to be different - and different is not time sensitive. Sony is launching late even by their own standards, having delayed the system from a very public promise of Spring 2006 to the fall, and pushing out Europe even further after promising they would get it this year.

To go back to the original topic - will Sony cut the PS3 lifespan short? No, I don’t think they will. I think the PS3 launched late and the PS4 will launch on time, either Holiday 2010 or 2011. That will give the PS3 a shorter life than the PS2, but that has more to do with the PS3 being late than the PS4 being “early.” I think Sony will be more conservative about some of their hardware choices, to make it easier to hit production goals and dates. It wouldn’t surprise me if it used blu-ray again, for example, albeit a faster BD-ROM drive. Those will be much cheaper and easy to mass-produce by then.

Because they might choose not to include blu-ray with every box, and they might choose a cheaper processor architecture than Cell.

By the time the next generation arrives, Blu-ray drives probably are not really going to be a huge cost factor anymore.


They may also be as obsolete as laserdisks.

I’d say 11 or 12, Jason. I don’t really consider this a 2006 launch as much as a 2007 one. 3 real years, even on the inside, seems awfully short.

The original Playstation lasted well past the launch of the PS2. As I suspect, the PS2 will last well past the PS3’s launch. Sony has a history of supporting their developers by building in backward compatibility. So even if you’re late to the party with your game, there’s enough of an installed base on the original console you may be developing for, and an expanding market with the new one.

That said, I think this speculation is all premature. Sony also announced they were starting development on the PS3 around the same time the PS2 launched. That lasted six years, despite Sony’s machine being trumped by a more powerful Xbox after release. So there’s no reason to think that the lifespan of PS3 will be any shorter now that Sony has a leg up in terms of horsepower. The spokesmen have been saying the console will be around for ten years. If the past is any indication, that means we can expect the new iteration around six or seven years from now.

If this is a 2007 launch, then christmas 2010 or 11 is really an 11 or 12 launch, right? I think we’re talking about the same years.

I’m saying I think the next system will launch in 4-5 “real” years. From xmas this year to xmas 2010 is 4 years, xmas 2011 is 5. It’s adding a year to the 5-6 year cycle of the PS2 and taking it from the PS3.

Not only that, but the PS2 is going to be the primary seller in many parts of the world for at least a couple more years. Places where they can only afford $149 consoles, and those are extravagant. The $20 greatest hits type collections and other older, cheaper games continue to sell over those times. It’s a “long tail” effect - 20 months of low sales of your game on the old platform in markets that aren’t the “big three” add up to a couple million more units.

Japanese as well but it’s not a huge deal there.

My old condo in Toronto was missing two floors: 4 and (I think) 13. Craziness :P

If you jump out the 14th floor window you will die earlier.

Wow. The more I hear about what Sony has planned, the smarter Nintendo looks for some reason, with their cheaper console that didn’t take much time to develop and is cheap to develop for.

4 is the number of death, isn’t it?