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.