) is expected to unveil its third game machine at the Electronic
Entertainment Expo (E3) this June. While many had hoped that this
announcement would be accompanied by a similar unveiling from
), company execs have all but denied that PlayStation 4's release
is imminent. That may have been a ploy to distract consumers (and
its competitors), however, as Sony is scheduled to host a major
event on February 20. The event is designed to reveal the future
of Sony's PlayStation "business" -- consoles, games, services,
anything. Critics and consumers are hoping this will lead to the
first formal announcement regarding PlayStation 4.
If Sony's next console turns out to be the focus of the event,
it would be the first time since 2000 that Sony has made a move
before Microsoft. The Windows maker surprised the world in 2005
when it unveiled and released the Xbox 360 a mere four years
after the original Xbox. Another year passed before PlayStation
3, Sony's last console, went on sale.
By making an announcement in February -- four months before E3
and weeks before the pre-show hype typically begins -- Sony could
send shockwaves through the entire industry.
However, if the current rumors are true, Sony's console may
not be all that different from what is currently available. While
it should be vastly more powerful, the controller is expected to
mirror the design of Wii U's touch screen gamepad.
This would be the second time that Sony followed Nintendo's
) lead. In 2009 the PlayStation maker unveiled PS Move, a motion
controller that was very similar to the remote released with the
original Wii in 2006.
Sony has been
conducting various experiments
with virtual reality, but none of the rumors suggest that this
technology will accompany PlayStation 4. Thus, Sony's next
console could be a clone of the last.
Depending on what consumers think of PlayStation 3, that may
not be a bad thing. PlayStation 2 was largely a clone of its
predecessor -- the only difference was that it had a superior
processor, better graphics and a greater number of triple-A
Consumers were very pleased with the results. Since its
release 13 years ago, PlayStation 2 has sold
153 million units
worldwide. PSone, its predecessor, topped out at 104 million.
Both PlayStation 2 and PSone shipped one year before their
competitors -- GameCube (shipped in 2001; sold 21 million units),
the original Xbox (shipped in 2001; sold 24 million units) and
Nintendo 64 (shipped in 1996; sold nearly 33 million units).
Comparatively, PlayStation 3 has currently sold 72 million
units -- just two million behind Xbox 360, which was available
for a full year before Sony shipped its last console. If Sony
were to come to market first this time (or launch at the same
time as Xbox 720), it could eliminate any advantage Microsoft
stands to gain.
However, the biggest challenge that Sony may face has yet to
be revealed. Right now, all rumors indicate that Microsoft is
going to expand on its Kinect concept with improved functionality
and entirely new features. If those features -- whatever they may
be -- resonate with consumers, it could turn Xbox 720 into the
While sales have slowed down significantly, Wii proved to be
the most successful console of the last generation, selling 98.8
million units -- nearly 30 million more than its competitors.
Fortunately, Sony and Microsoft will
not have to worry about Nintendo
this time around.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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