What If Sony’s Next PlayStation Didn’t Arrive Until 2015?

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Imagine the unthinkable: Sony’s next PlayStation, or whatever it’s ultimately called, arrives not next year and not the year after that, but sometime in 2015. Three years out — a lifetime in console years. Could you live with that?

Just to be clear, that’s not what Sony V.P. of hardware marketing John Koller told Gamespot in a recent interview, but he did confirm that Sony plans to support the PS3 “for the next few years.”

(MORE: Who Needs a PlayStation 4 When You Can Have a ‘PS3 Slimmer’?)

Says Koller:

…we’re going to continue supporting it not only that long, but as long as there is a development spigot that’s running hot. And I can tell you right now, the development spigot for PS3 is very hot. A lot of great games coming. Same thing with PS2…it’s kind of stuck around as that old warrior, many years after its launch. But there’s still games launching for it.

Wait — before we continue — they’re still making games for the PlayStation 2? A game system that came out while Bill Clinton was president? I had to double-check this, but it looks like Koller’s right. There was Major League Baseball 2K12, released back in March, as well as both FIFA 13 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2013, out this month. That’s kind of remarkable. By comparison, original Xbox development ended, what, the second the Xbox 360 arrived?

Anyway, Koller didn’t specify “2015,” nor should we read much into a casual response like this. It’s just the Sony marketing machine telegraphing its hopes that you’ll spend a bunch of money this holiday shopping season (especially those who don’t yet own a PS3). It’s not a promise or a guarantee that the PS3 will still be with us in three years’ time, because that’s not the kind of thing companies like Sony (or Microsoft, or Nintendo) do.

It’s also not a statement that’s really aimed at existing PS3 owners, because they’re already in the bag. Has anyone not bought a game they wanted to play for a console they already own because they thought a game system sequel was imminent?

That leaves who, then? Nintendo Wii owners who want to get “more core”? Buyers who’ve yet to place a game console bet? I don’t see many Xbox 360 owners crossing lines at this point, with their social gaming capital invested in Xbox LIVE, do you? It’s hard to know who,  exactly, Sony’s thinking about here.

Sony’s holiday lineup makes the message even harder to decipher. The company doesn’t have a Halo 4 this year to drive new system sales through the holidays. There’s PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, sure, but we’re talking a game that’s clearly aimed at people who already own a PS3. If you don’t know who Nathan Drake, Nariko, Cole McGrath or Sackboy are — all characters that debuted on the PS3 — what’s the point?

Another problem: The new 250 GB PS3 “slimmer,” marketed to folks who don’t yet have a PS3, is actually a little more expensive than the current 160 GB PS3 slim. Sony’s trying to spin the new PS3 as a “better value” with the bigger hard drive and pack-in game, but the game — Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception – is the third in a series you’ve only ever been able to play on the PS3. Sony’s asking new buyers, who’ve never played an Uncharted, to leap in with a game that depends to a large extent on your appreciation of the characters and their relationships through the first two games. If you want to sell to newcomers, why not include all three in the Uncharted series? Or something with more cross-demographic appeal, like the original LittleBigPlanet and its sequel?

But okay, maybe you just want a cheap Blu-ray device. The problem: Sony sells dedicated players for as little as $100. That’s roughly $170 less than the new “entry-level” PS3.

Still — and here’s where I’m guessing Sony and I are on the same page — I’d like to think systems like the PS3 and Xbox 360 have a few more years before their successors arrive. I don’t care about “more realistic graphics,” whatever that means at this point. Outliers like Mario 64 or Halo aside, new systems take forever to get going. I’d much rather see what designers can do with systems they know through and through, without a platform acclimation curve.

According to Koller:

A lot of great content is coming. And over the next 2-3 years, the PS3 has got an incredible lineup.

It’s probably hoping for too much. There’s the competition to think about, and this is nothing if not a long game of flinch. The Xbox 360 will be eight years old next year — one year older than the PS3. What if Microsoft announces its next Xbox at E3 2013?

Says Koller:

Yeah, we watch what the competitors do, but we don’t make decisions based on what they do. We like our position.

That sounds a little pat to me. Everyone makes decisions based to some extent on what their competition’s up to. Even Nintendo’s Wii was a reactionary device — whether to industry staleness, or, arguably, to what Sony was doing with the EyeToy on the PS2. With the PS3, Sony waited a year longer than Microsoft to get into the game, assuming at the time that its PS2 still had legs (it did) and that the PS3, with its boutique price tag, would sell based on brand affinity alone (it didn’t).

A lot of this depends on how customers react to the Wii U this holiday. If a Nintendo threat fails to materialize — say both Microsoft and Sony meet or exceed holiday sales expectations — who knows how much longer things could roll.

What do you think? Am I wrong to hope we might not see next-gen systems until 2014 or 2015? Vote in our poll (above), or let me know what you’re thinking and why below.

MORE: Isn’t It Time for a PlayStation Vita Price Cut?

21 comments
PhilliusThomas
PhilliusThomas

Then we would stick the company down the Calgary septic.

Phillius | albertawaterservice.com

DarthDiggler
DarthDiggler

What if my aunt had wheels, she'd be a wheel barrel. :) 

So now 'what if' counts as news?

FaggitShit
FaggitShit

consoles are like cassete players at this point, just sad and depressing, the graphics on ps3 and 360 are vomit inducing, the performance is even worse....how can anyone take these things with 8 year old hardware in them seriously?

they look like barf!

Wilbert H Frisko
Wilbert H Frisko

Link Bait.  But yeah, good read either way.  It sounds like Sony is getting desperate.  Although a faithful 360 owner, with the jump to PSN being a free jump, I haven't written off picking one up eventually **cough cough** when the price goes down a bit more.

Matthew Dickinson
Matthew Dickinson

"Support" also means they handle technical repairs. It's like Microsoft saying that XP will end support in 2014.

The 12gb version is being sold in United Arab Emirates, although originally I saw it reported as just Europe and HK.

Vampiric
Vampiric

the wii u is already preorder sold out

its going to be number 1 in each region by a big margin, it wont even be close

thebonafortuna
thebonafortuna

I hope they're isn't a new PlayStation for at least a few more years.  I don't care about better graphics than are already available, and I'm not interested in investing in new hardware.  The PS3 does everything graphically I want it to do, and does it well.  I've got a 750GB hdd in there, which has tons of movies/tv shows stored on it.  I hope they focus on just making more high quality games.

For what it's worth, I don't think the WiiU will take off, either.  My guess is that follows a similar trajectory to what we saw with the Dreamcast, which is sad.  So Sony doesn't have to worry about them.

tridus
tridus

The problem with keeping this generation going is that the current hardware is horrifically memory starved, and the processors are becoming relics. A couple more years of Smartphone improvements and they'll suddenly be packing similar power (the iPad 3 already has double the RAM of the PS3).

The current crop is also severely limiting what games can do, due to RAM starvation and the weird design of the PS3's processor. To see that in action, just take a look at Skyrim and how they can't get Dawnguard to work on the PS3 due to those exact issues. 

Sure, another 3 years of these consoles is great if you want Call of Duty 74. But there's a reason why the real innovation in new game types and franchises is everywhere other then the consoles right now.

Derek Kompare
Derek Kompare

A few early gems aside, like the original Uncharted, developers have only been hitting their stride in this generation since about 2009. So while it's certainly no longer early days, there's plenty of juice left in both the PS3 and 360. The hardware is plenty capable of amazing things if you're into "realism" and depth (e.g., Red Dead Redemption), and is flexible enough to allow for creative variation (e.g., Journey).

Regardless, we will have another console generation by 2015 at the latest. There's too much speculation and proverbial "smoke" from many corners for this not to be the case at both Sony and Microsoft. The only question now is what (if any) impact the Wii U has in moving the dial for Nintendo, and how that prompts a speedier response from the others.

Keith415
Keith415

Ok so they release a new one and you just keep playing your ps3..... What is so difficult about that they did it with the ps2.

DarthDiggler
DarthDiggler

 Actually the Cell is just starting to really come into it's own, if they added some Cache Memory to that CPU and a few more cores it would be fine for next generation.  From what I am reading the next gen CPUs won't be all that much to write home about.

Memory is the big bottleneck for PS3 and Xbox 360 though.

Nicoli
Nicoli

You're an idiot. A dedicated gaming console doesn't have to have the memory requirements that a more versatile device does. Ex. PCs/iPads, really? 

Bethesda always has issues with creating games for multiple consoles, especially one as unique as the PS3's design, because they do mostly PC work. It's not the system's fault that a developer cant or doesn't dedicate more time to get to know hardware. I mean, every single one of Naughty Dog's games on the PS3 are the best looking console games ever, granted more is always good, but hardware has never been the real reason why a game hasn't succeeded. One of the greatest games ever was on the original barely polygon capable, Playstation, and the love for that game won't die. Or any Zelda game for that matter.

While i do agree that Call of Duty has gotten quite crazy with their number of releases, lack of innovation would be their main issue, not the hardware. Hence the reason the Wii U isn't all that much more capable in some areas, and Sony has gone on record stating that they can't get a system that would be significantly more powerful than the PS3, for at least for another couple years. Tech has kinda hit the mid-40s ceiling and INSTEAD of scrambling for new hardware every year like idiots do for their phones and tablets, gaming consoles are meant to be used and run for the better part of the decade so that their hardware is fully utilized. 

And excuse me...but what games are NOT on gaming consoles from PC this generation??? Hell even Day Z will make it to the big 2 eventually. 

jack rudrum
jack rudrum

not what youve got but what you do with it lol :p although the ps3 in particular has far too little RAM hopefully they'll stickl loads in the ps4 although RAM isn't quite the be all and end all of a device although it is important 

thebonafortuna
thebonafortuna

Right.  Except devs start focusing their efforts on PS4.  Just like PS2, the big titles stop being released relatively quickly and you get forced to upgrade or sit them out.

CharlesBaltimore
CharlesBaltimore

Uhh, yeah it absolutely is Sony's fault that they made a game system that is more complicated to program for.  If I am a game developer and I have to spend MORE money to go out of my way to get a PS game to work properly, etc (whatever it may be).. Then I would just do my best to make it as workable as possible.  This is why the cross platform games almost never work as well on PS3.  Developers have been complaining about this since the start of the PS3, they were stupid to think the industry would just have to adapt to them.  Now they are paying the price as a marginal console, their stock has been in a free fall since the blu-ray win of HD-DVD.

tridus
tridus

Naughty Dog's games and Bethesda's games are so differnet internally that comparing them just shows you have no clue what you're talking about.

It's pretty easy on the PS3 to make pretty. It's good at that. It's not at all easy to make it deal with very large quantities of persistant state (which Naughty Dog's games don't have and Skyrim does), because the SPEs are constrained to tiny amounts of memory. Work beyond that and everything has to be done on the main CPU, which bogs down with that much work directed to it.

That's why these games work better on the 360, which has the same amount of memory but doesn't have most of its processing power in SPEs that are limited to using only tiny slices of it. The PS3's hardware simply works against a game like Skyrim with a very large persistant world state, and screaming that "some other companies game with next to no state is pretty!" doesn't change the technical reality of the situation.

As for the rest of it... there's a reason console game sales are down year over year for several years in a row now, and why the big publishers are locked into sequel after sequel. All the new games are being made on other platforms where the development costs are lower and the hardware is advancing.

Thomas Burns
Thomas Burns

You are absolutely correct. But the 360 is aging too. It won't be long before neither of the serious consoles can handle games as ambitious as Skyrim. Consoles have just become the place where my co-op shooters live and everything else is better on pc right now except maybe precision platformers like super meat boy :)

tridus
tridus

Ah, fanboy rage.

Vampiric
Vampiric

tridus your a moron just shut it