Gaming

Could Microsoft force Sony to up the Playstation 4’s release date?

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The (very) long awaited release of Sony’s Playstation 4 won’t be happening this year, according to an analysis by Wedbush Securities, but Microsoft might have a hand in getting it released earlier than previously reported.

Speaking to Play Magazine Wedbush Securities said that they expect Sony to release the PS4 (or Orbis as it’s codenamed) in time for Christmas 2013 with a probable launch date of October/November (some reports place the date as fall 2014 while Sony themselves suggested that 2016 is the likely arrival date).  As much as Sony wants to hold back the release in order to develop the system, they also want to get the jump on Microsoft.

If Sony does push ahead the release of the PS4 then that would make the 2013 festive season one of the most competitive with Microsoft expected to make a big splash with the release of its Xbox 720.

Nintendo will be hoping to replicate the success of the Wii with the Wii U, which by that time will be over a year old.  But even if Sony released the PS4 in the winter of 2013 they are still expected to support the PS3 for some time to come.  Some expect Sony will drop the price of the PS3 at the PS4’s launch, which will give the near decade old console a new lease of life.

This would be similar to what Nintendo has done with the Wii Mini – a portable hard disk sized version of the old Wii console (that’s, so far, only available in Canada… and doesn’t come with Wi-Fi…).

According to reports, as far back as April 2012 Sony has set themselves a target of beating Microsoft’s next generation console in any way they can.  And while they have not publically announced many of the details of the PS4, top game developers have been playing with the system for over a year.

If the long delay between releases is annoying to gamers, games makers are equally concerned by the slow cycle (bearing in mind that Apple has released five iPhones and four tablets since the PS3 was released).

“The transition has been very long,” Ubisoft’s CEO, Yves Guillemot, in on record as saying, “We need new consoles and at the end of the cycle generally the market goes down because there are less new IPs, new properties, so that damaged the industry a little bit. I hope next time they will come more often.”

But come 2013, the added fear for the games’ industry is that users will be more likely to spend their holiday gifts budgets on new smartphone and tablet devices, which are mostly in the same price bracket, than on new gaming consoles.

So, although we’re a year away from the next generation console wars it seems that Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft will have more to compete with than just each other.

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Piers Dillon Scott
Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).