Rumor: PlayStation 4 may launch sooner than expected

Rumors are flying across the Internet about a dramatic change in Sony’s projected production schedule. The PlayStation 4 may be coming much, much sooner than originally estimated.

Rumor: PlayStation 4 may launch sooner than expected

Taiwanese tech industry news outlet DigiTimes reported in a mind-blowingly terse news brief, that “Sony will have Taiwan-based partners begin production of PlayStation 4 (PS4) … at the end of 2011 for launch in 2012”. The information was gathered from sources within Foxconn and another parts-manufacturer, Pegatron. According to these sources, the PS4 will contain a motion-capture element similar to the Kinect for Xbox.

That being said, there are plenty of reasons not to believe the hype. Kotaku reminds us that the PS3 was originally scheduled to have a ten-year lifespan, and that a 2012 release might be less wise than a 2013 or 2014 release, largely because the US economy is still slumping, but also because Sony released its handheld, the Vita, this year.

CrunchGear points out that Sony is having enough trouble making money on its existing stock of consoles, and that a new version of PlayStation would drive the price of the PS3 down, making profits even more elusive than they are now. Sony’s attempt at a motion-sensing device, the Move, which works similarly to the Wiimote, has not sold well.

Finally, even while admitting at this year’s E3 that plans were underway to develop Sony’s next generation console, the company stood by its long-held narrative: the PS3 was built to have a ten-year lifespan, and it will be supported for its entire decade.

Note, however, that these plans were made before PSN and various other Sony networks were ravaged by LulzSec and other hackers. It’s possible that Sony has concerns about the continuing popularity of its products as concerns about security have arisen, and that may have changed their timeline. Either way, Sony has to be happy to make the news for something other than getting hacked.