Is Sony about to announce the PS4?

ps4 conceptRumours about the PS4 have been reignited after Sony announced it is holding an event later this month to discuss “the future of PlayStation”.

Japanese multinational Sony is remaining fairly tight-lipped about the happening, which is taking place in the Big Apple on February 20.

The firm has only said: “We will be talking about the Playstation business”. But, naturally, speculation about a new PlayStation console has increased.

And, it’s little wonder that is the conclusion analysts and consumers have jumped to when you consider Sony’s past events. In January 11, it revealed the PlayStation Vita handheld console. A similar meeting in 2005 unveiled the prototype PS3 and, in 1999, Sony bosses revealed the PS2.

The respected Wall Street Journal is citing reliable, but unnamed sources, who claim the new PS4 will be announced this month and released for sale to cash in on the Christmas market.

PS3With the PS3 celebrating its sixth birthday, the gizmo is considered by many to be reaching the end of its shelf life. So, while there’s no doubt Sony is getting ready to launch something new, opinions have differed about when. While some analysts believe a PS4 will not arrive until next year, other sources have suggested it will be shown off at the video game trade show E3, which takes place in Los Angeles in June.

The PS3 has brought success to Sony, selling more than 70m units, but the world of gaming has changed a lot since its launch. While more people are playing games, they are not necessarily doing so on consoles, but downloading relatively cheap, or even free, titles such call of dutyas Angry Birds and Bubble Safari onto their smartphones. But, given that we’ve also seen video games such as Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 take more than $1bn in revenue, there is clearly still a serious market for multi-layered high quality graphics-based games. It will be interesting to see how Sony deals with the changing face of the market.

The new PS4, when it does arrive, is very much designed to rival the likes of Nintendo’s new console, the Wii U, which launched in November, in time for Christmas last year. Sony certainly won’t want a rival to have the latest console on the market for a second festive season.

Angry birdsBut, the Japanese company is facing stiff competition from its other main rival, Microsoft, which is also expected to unveil its next generation console during 2013. It is thought what is so far being dubbed the Xbox 720 will be revealed at E3 this year. So, it is perhaps not surprising that Sony wants to steal a march on Microsoft by announcing its own device earlier.

But, while gaming forum users are clearly excited by the news, many think Sony could afford to wait before launching the PS4 to make sure any new console is as near perfect as possible. One said: “I think the PS3 looks a lot less dated than the PS2 did at the same stage in its lifespan. If I were Sony I would wait a year or two before launching the PS4 as it will split the PlayStation market for developers and is likely to struggle with initial sales due to the tough economy.”