PS4 to skip this year. Debut at E3 2013

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One minute we’re just starting to believe the idea that Sony might announce PS4 at E3 2012 – the next, SCE’s CTO Masaaki Tsuruta is dashing our hopes by saying things like “some of the things we want are still five years away [from development]. “ Does that mean no PS4 until 2017? That’s unlikely, but Tsuruta’s interview does give a bit more insight into Sony’s long term plan. Crucially the interview with Engineering & Technology Magazine mentions, “The PlayStation 3 will be at least seven-years-old by the time its successor appears”. The PS3 was six last November.  

The full quote above actually says “You always want ‘perfect’ technologies, but there are none. So, you look at what is available, and try to get as close as possible to that goal. Even then, some of the things that we want are still five years away [from development].” Tsuruta was speaking at International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) at Washington DC. He also added ”For the haptics and the very advanced graphics, we are talking about those five years at least.”

Sony has always maintained that the PS3 will have a ten year lifespan, and Tsuruta’s comments seem to suggest that its not about to deviate from that saying “You have to look at the current solutions and the current technologies and see how long you can extend those for the expected life of the product.” How this ties in with Nintendo’s announcement of it’s next-gen Wii-U and a widely expected reveal from Microsoft at E3 2012 has yet to be seen.

So what can we expect in the future from Sony? Tsuruta strongly hints at digital downloads, and possibly even a move towards more complex online experiences, maybe even game streaming. Once our feeble internet connections can hack it, that is: ”A typical PlayStation console game is 50GByte – transferring those kinds of size over most of today’s [public IP] networks won’t work. But more important is the experience. The [public IP] networks cannot yet deliver it. Many people like the ability to play simultaneously, and when the networks are available we would like to open the platform up to more complex content through them… But we will have to wait for a while because current networks have limitations in bandwidth.”

If all that future-speak has you dropping your monocle and gripping the sides of your antique armchair in fear, don’t worry. Platform exclusives and the triple-A gaming experience will still be what Sony’s next console is all about. Back to Tsuruta: ““We think that the core games will continue to be the most important.”

In terms of the silicon inside that new console and how it works, Sony is keen to get on board with the increasingly integrated CPU+GPU+mainboard architecture that’s ‘trending’ right now over in the world of PC hardware. Tech giants AMD, Intel and NVIDIA are all working towards one chip that can handle graphics processing tasks, and Tsuruta hints at a traditional board layout that may make use of this: ”We are looking at an architecture where the bulk of processing will still sit on the main board, with CPU and graphics added to by more digital signal processing and some configurable logic.”

Of course, this could all be part of the guessing game (or second-guessing the second-guessing game) between Sony and Microsoft as they try to sound each other out. Time, as ever, will tell.

Courtesy of E&T