Sony Confirms the ‘PlayStation 4’ Is Underway

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The PlayStation 4 exists, surprise! Bet you never saw that coming. Except it’s not called the PlayStation 4—not yet, anyway. But yes, Sony admitted it’s in the offing in one of those indirectly-traveling-from-New-York-to-L.A.-by-way-of-China references.

Perhaps you’ve heard Sony’s PlayStation division posted a profit for its fiscal year. Well it did, and though PlayStation sales were essentially flat, operating income was about $436 million, an about-face from the prior fiscal year’s $1 billion loss.

Speaking to investors Thursday about the news, Sony Japan Executive Vice President and CFO Masaru Kato fielded questions, at one point talking up the PS3’s product life, then adding “this is a platform business, so for the future platform – when we’ll be introducing that product, I cannot discuss that – but our development work is already underway.”

Instant ‘PlayStation 4!’ news churn. Which is just to say “yeah, knew that already.” Because these guys never rest, and “already” could mean for one, two, or five years for all we know. News at this point would be when it’s coming, not “if” or “whether.”

So here’s the actually interesting stuff: Kato talked about the PlayStation 3’s initial investment overhead. It’s no secret the monstrously complex franken-console was anything but dainty cost-wise when it debuted in November 2006. Sony more or less took a bath on the PS3, financially, to make it remotely salable.

According to Kato, the main reason for this was the difference in sale price and manufacturing cost for each PS3 console (obviously), but also that Sony spent “billions” pulling together its own semiconductor facilities.

Never again, said Kato, adding “[it] is no longer thinkable to have a huge initial financial investment like that of the PS3.”

The good news takeaway, I’m assuming, is that the PS4 (or whatever it’s ultimately called—NGC, or Next Generation Console?) should be a lot less expensive at launch, and assuming that goes hand-in-glove with architectural simplification, much easier to come to grips with for developers.

(via Andriasang)