The world is shifting into next generation. New handhelds are already out. Nintendo have just got their console out in the US and at the time I write this it is literally less then 2 days away for Europe. But Nintendo is not the only one with rumors running around with next generation systems. The biggest rumors are coming from Microsoft. Most word of mouth, internet sources and a certain leaked document (supposedly legit) all point to a late 2013 release. The safe bet is November given Microsoft love that month. But what of Sony? When do they plan to launch realistically? According to a recent one liner by Official Playstation Magazine, it is further along then you think it is.
OPM got together a collection of PS4 rumored games. What was the most interesting part was that they claimed there was a game in development from the now closed Team Bondi. The quote reads as follows: "This one has been knocking around for a while, but the 2015 launch date may just tickle the back end of PS4’s launch window."
A launch window in 2015? When do they plan to launch this exactly? If this statement is accurate we shouldn't expect it until the end of 2014 at the very earliest. It is no secret that Sony have confessed they are last. They lost a lot of money when PS3 launched and they will want to make that money back. The "10 year plan" for PS3 is something that Sony spoke about from the very beginning. Now some have argued that it can mean 10 year support and Sony can still launch before that. The question is do they want to? You may look with a huge question mark but hold off when I say this, a 2015 release is actually very likely.
As much as people want to, they cannot look at this from a perspective of a consumer. The way Sony will be looking at it is business. They want the system to be profitable. But they also want it to have some kind of leap. There has been some debate across multiple game forums on if Sony will take the profit approach and cut the specs down, or if they won't care about their finances and make a leap despite the fact it is severely risking their business. I think they will wait it out. I think this "10 year plan" of their's is actually a plan made before they move on. If you look at this from a financial perspective, it makes a lot of sense.
As mentioned above, Sony want to milk PS3 for all it is worth. They will want to take as much money back that the cell and Blu-Ray player stole from them. But there are other problems on the table you need to consider. They are still moving around their other businesses that are making heavier losses. But perhaps the most crucial point about a new console coming out close to the next Xbox is that there is an obstacle preventing them because (very sadly) the public is just not being swayed towards it. The Vita.
Now look at this from Sony's point. Nintendo managed to get 3DS off the ground, despite this doomsday prophecy about smart phones destroying dedicated handhelds. Sony put a lot of money in Vita. They have confirmed they are moving to shrink their losses made on Vita as the next year progresses. But it won't help unless Vita catches on. But in order for them to do that, attention must be moved towards it.
This is the problem. Vita still has time to pull through. Despite what people tell you in forums, there are still plenty of chances. But it can only happen if Sony put their attention to it. And they won't just stand back and watch as it fails after a slow Christmas. Sony are better then that. Internet trolls are saying it is all over for the Vita. Not really. But the price being paid will be lack of focus on consoles.
It would be way smarter of Sony to make Vita pull through then to just forget it to speed up PS4 development. So if they put their focus on Vita next year to get it to pull through is it bad for PS4? I say no.
I know what you are thinking. Microsoft will get the jump on them again. While that is true it is also true that it doesn't matter what Microsoft do, some just won't buy the Xbox. They want Playstation. They see it as worth waiting for. The interesting thing here is, Sony would be considerably late, but it would have all their problems solved from a financial perspective. PS3 will continue to sell well into 2015. People will still want it. Then as Vita is selling their two major concerns will be dealt with. They can move on. Waiting until this late to launch could also hold Gran Turismo off and give the developers the time they constantly ask for, and Sony could have their big system seller ready.
But most of all, it gives Sony the target specs they want in the console, while also making it profitable since the cost of the parts will come down in 3 years. They can also launch it at a much more competitive price then if they were to launch it around the same time as Microsoft. It makes perfect financial sense when you look at it from Sony's view. I love Sony as much as the next guy, but they cannot keep taking losses like this. Even in their game division. There is only so much they can take. This would also show that Sony don't care about Microsoft's move and are worrying more about their own skin.
If you look at this from their view it makes great sense. A 2015 launch is actually more likely then you'd think. It isn't just about who gets the jump on who. It is about money. Sony need money to make more consoles. They can't keep up their current path of making "future proofed" hardware and make money on it. The only question is, if this was to come to pass, would you be willing to wait that long?
When all is said and done, system launches happen when the company is ready. Not when people are. And the writing is on the wall they definitely aren't ready for late next year.