Report: Sony Believes Handhelds Will Replace Home Consoles

It is possible that any plans for a PS4 or other future home console from Sony may have been shelved in favor of the upcoming NGP.

Of course, no actual announcement of PlayStation 4 was ever made, but it’s the next jump everyone automatically expects. With Sony’s standard 10 year life span for their consoles, a PS4 release would still be a long way off, but it would make sense to be committing some research and development to such a project, in preparation for Sony’s consistent future proofing strategy. However, a recent story posted on the Japanese site PC Watch may indicate that plans for PS4 were in development, and are now taking a seat on the back burner in favor of pushing the NGP, as well as extending the life of the PS3. Thanks to a rough translation from Beyond3D forums we can make some sense of the article, garnering the following information:

Plans are to upgrade the OS Software and features of the PS3 to make it last longer For instance the PS3 can display 4K, that can be enabled with a software upgrade. 2012 should have 4K res sets as well as 4K & 1080P 3-D blu-ray players. That would have the PS3 still able to match CE equipment standards and that will be the end of the PS3’s ability to keep up with the CE media advances. The PS3 will be getting a webkit browser and upgrades to the PS3 OS to enable a webkit port and to allow porting of applications and games to the PS3 via PS Suite from the NGP (windows support).

Hiroshige Goto says SCEI suspended PS4 development. They were working on a PowerPC based system at IBM Rochester after the Larrabee fall out, then shelved it. They are betting the farm on PSP2 as they expect handhelds to displace consoles.

We recently posted about developers not wanting a new console yet, due to the currently high costs of development. A new system would drive these costs up, in turn driving up game prices and possibly turning off many consumers as a result. It seems that if this translation and story are to be believed, then Sony agrees for now. However, while we may not be ready now for a new console, that doesn’t mean the situation won’t change in another three or four years. It’s great news in the respect that it shows the NGP will receive plenty of support, which is something many complained about regarding the PSP.

It also gives additional hope that the PS3 will in fact be supported for the entire 10 year life span as Sony has always claimed they will. The idea of receiving an upgraded OS for the beloved system, as well as a Webkit browser is enough to make many drool on their controllers. However, for many people a handheld still can not replace the power of a console, or the visual aesthetics presented by a 60 inch HD 3D TV. Could Sony be shooting themselves in the foot with such a move, or is this just another example of them denying the existence of a future product? Do they still have something else up their sleeve with the NGP that we are yet unaware of? The possibilities for speculation on this topic are simply endless, so let us know what you think. Be sure to check back with us, and we’ll keep you updated as we find out more regarding the NGP and the fate of the fabled PS4.