“PlayStation 4” Plans Suspended?

Update: please see this post.

Big news if this turns out to be accurate. A report has gone up on a Japanese website which seems to state that Sony have shelved their plans for their next generation of home consoles. Following a translation offered on the Beyond3D forums we’re led to believe that the development of a new console will be deferred for a period of time so that Sony can focus on keeping the PlayStation 3 as up to date and relevant as possible.

This will probably be welcome news to developers who, as the translation points out, can barely afford more than a few high quality franchises in development on current hardware, never mind trying to upscale everything for a more advanced and powerful (we would assume) machine.

The most concise quote from the translation is possibly this one, which seems to indicate that the report shows a stunning confidence in the NGP:

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.

Of course, Sony haven’t officially announced their next home console yet but it is safe to assume that research and development work was well underway and this report seems to back up that assumption.

What does this mean for the future of home consoles? We’ll have to wait and see when more information comes to light. It’s conceivable that this is just one track of research being sidelined and there will be other routes in the future but for the time being, if this translation can be trusted, it seems that Sony might be tuning the PlayStation 3 and putting their faith in their handhelds rather than producing a PlayStation 4.

Of course, we’re trusting some rough translation for this one so we strongly advise a healthy pinch of salt. This might all stem from a stock Sony response that they know nothing of a “PS4”, which is healthy business practice. We’re trying to dig a little deeper and see what we can find out.

Source: PC Watch, via Beyond3D

– PAGE CONTINUES BELOW –

59 Comments

  1. If handhelds are indeed the future, it makes you wonder where that leaves MS. Some sort of Zune branded console?

    • If that does happen they have WP7, which has had a promising (although not earth shattering) start, and from early 2012 they’ll have a key hardware partner in Nokia (to add to HTC etc), who’s own Symbian software hasn’t kept pace with the growth of iOS & Android.

      On the hardware-side; Quad core CPUs & GPUs have already been announced just this week and devices will be launched featuring them, at the turn of the year. I’d expect handhelds (like the 3DS & NGP) to be looking over the shoulder at mobiles through 2012

      • Well the 3DS is already outdated because of the recently announced LG Optimus 3D which uses glasses-less 3D like it does. Reports from people who have tried both say that the Optimus 3D is easier on the eye and has doesn’t have to be kept in the exact same position for the 3d to work, unlike the 3DS

    • I wouldn’t trust a Microsoft handheld. It will be like holding a live hand grenade.

      • could make a portable cod version interesting , too many deaths or noob tubing and the handheld explodes.

  2. I think this is a very smart move on Sony’s part. Especially when PS3 development is really hitting it’s stride and a ubiquitous experience between PS3 and NGP seemingly looming. Smart move.

    • Very smart, as long as they keep the AAA titles for the PS3 coming I don’t mind waiting.

      • Indeed. I want to keep using my PS3 for a long time as I invested quite a lot of money in it. (about 500 £, cables and new HDD included) And seeing how developers have just recently started to make use of the console’s full potential (or have they?…) I really don’t mind waiting a few more years (I hate it when my stuff gets obsolete). And the recent addition of move helps keep it cool too.

    • I agree. No need for a PS4 for about another 3 years. I just hope they do release a PS4 and not shelve the idea although i think the Xbox 360 successor will hurry up the PS4 plans.

  3. I can’t see this being such a bad idea. Given the PS3 is effectively upgradable via firmware, they should be able to keep puching up limits for the forseeable future and it will likely mean a decent amount of focus on the current and not too distant tech (i.e. 3D, Move, NGP).

    • But I’m worried that they will not be making another home console, good news that they’re supporting the PS3 for a longer period. But I would still want a home console from Sony in the future rather than only handhelds.

  4. Handhelds to displace consoles? I’m not seeing that become reality but it does show stunning confidence in their new device.

    I wasn’t really aware PS4 was in development and with Move just out and NGP just becoming general knowledge, I certainly don’t see holding off on PS4 as a real shocker to be honest. I think PS3 has a hell of a lot more to give and I’d be a little disappointed if I learned they were winding back on it to be honest.

    Assuming all this is true of course.

    • A handheld compatible with future WiDi displays, may mean you have the best of both worlds, however the NGP (or anything other than some Intel processors so far) doesn’t have WiDi built in

      • I have to agree with aerobes, playing a console is completely different to playing a handheld, plus it’s a lot more comfortable.

        maybe when they produce an in eye virtual console I’ll change my mind, but until then…consoles are still the future (with handhelds coming a close 2nd)

      • They might offer some sort of HD TV dock like the Motorola Atrix Cellphone has.

      • Yea, I think when people talk about handhelds replacing consoles, this includes:
        1) the handheld being able to display HD on your tv
        2) the handheld being able to synch to traditional controllers

        so that, effectively, your console is portable… it’s like a laptop computer vs. a desktop. when you’re home, you put it on your desk (tv), when you’re out, you can play it anywhere.

  5. Good move by Sony here. I am glad they will hold back longer on the PS4.

    However, if Microsoft bring announce a new console then Sony would almost have to think about bringing out a PS4 in order to not lose their position in the console market.

    With Kinect though, Microsoft are probably on the same wavelength as Sony about not brining out another console yet, and keeping the current one up to date and relevant. Portable consoles is a different thing all together.

    • Your comment has actually spaked a thought in me.
      See my ideal world would be that Sony and Microsoft released consoles many years apart any way, say 5 years apart each, of course its never actually going to happen but hypothetically what would happen is that
      a) I could afford to by both new consoles
      b) so could most other people and fanboyism would diminish because everyone would have both consoles

      Sony & Microsoft share the market more fairly, consumers get the best of both worlds and the internet is rid of nobs

      P.S. I realise this is something that could never happen and if were to happen via some sort of agreement it would probably be illegal – its just my ideal

      • You missed out point c!!!

        c) Utopia would finally be realised!

    • I was thinking that, it’s nice to know their is quite some life left in the PS3, but equally, if MS do announce and release a new console it will be interesting to see Sony’s response. I would wager a large part of the success of the 360 was down to the fact it had a year to establish a customer base before the PS3 appeared, and I could see this trend repeating itself. If MS were to release a next-gen console in the near(ish) future, then people will naturally pick that over the PS3 as it will be the “next big thing”.

      • Sony would be crazy to let them have a year head start again imo. would buy a PS4 next year no problem.

  6. Interesting if true, but I think that Sony aren’t abandoning PS4 development, rather they’re starting afresh after realising that where they were headed wasn’t really all that workable.

    Cell development has ended, Larrabee was a total joke throughout… What we’re seeing with the NGP is that they’re moving more in a compromise direction between the PS3 and X360. 4 identical cores for the CPU and GPU apiece.

    So where would that see the PS4 heading? Well, if they’re starting from scratch, I’d expect they’d still want to stick with PPC, and then perhaps see what AMD and NVidia have to offer in terms of multiple cored GPUs.

    Personally, I think that the SPEs of the Cell worked very well for the PS3, but were in the wrong place. If you combine the structure of the Cell with a GPGPU, you’d be onto a winner. 2 main GPU cores, combines with a few slaves that they could use for dedicated Physics, Shaders, and all the rest. The CPU, then, is free to do other things, though I’ve no idea what.

    • I’m not sure why so many continue to believe that cell development has stopped.

      http://www-304.ibm.com/shop/americas/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/default/CategoryDisplay?categoryId=4611686018425235305&storeId=1&catalogId=-840&langId=-1

      That is the IBM QS22 Blade Center with the PowerXCell 8i CellBE processor in it. Further more, IBM themselves have stated that only 1 CPU development cycle was being halted, and that was the successor to the cell mentioned above.

      http://www.itproportal.com/2009/11/24/ibm-denies-pulling-out-cell-development/

      With that said, I see no reason for Sony to start development or design on a completely new architecture. Too much money has been invested in the Cell processor for them to abandon it, and moving to a new processor would cost hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development. Additionally with the gaming division in the process of becoming profitable, this doesn’t seem to be a wise decision. the CellBE has proven to be a very powerful piece of hardware when put into the right hands. I agree, Intel’s courting of Sony to get them to buy into Larrabee wasn’t the best idea. If Sony does decide to make any changes to the next iteration of its hardware, I would imagine that it would likely be to the following:

      1. More memory or faster memory. In the PS3 we currently have 2 different sets of RAM, capped at 256MB each. One of these is with the ultra fast XDR RAM. The next iteration of XDR RAM should be available by the time the PS4 would be heading to the fab plant. I would hope that Sony would find a way to use this high speed RAM exclusively, which if given a good amount, would allow for a very fast memory pipeline that has the amount of memory that devs have been wanting.

      2. GPU. I love my PS3, but I think we’ve been let down some in the graphics department, especially when it comes to what both console makers were promising in the beginning. While the leap in graphics from Gen 6 to Gen 7 was huge in gaming, we were promised Full HD graphics in 1080p60. Very few games (Sony and MS), can honestly say that they run 1080p60. Given that, I think Sony needs to make sure that whatever we are presented with in the PS4 can meet these needs. If a PS4 is developed, there should only be 2 resolutions for games at that point, 720p and 1080p.

      Other than that, I think Sony needs to stay focused on keeping their SDK as user friendly as possible if and when they bring out a new console. With devs finally finding their stride with making games on the PS3, if Sony is able to keep SDK clean and user friendly, it will only be that much easier for the devs to continue to make great games for us, as well as allow newer devs to come in and not have such a heavy learning curve. Just my $.02

  7. I’m glad they have, it has to be a monumental upgrade at a reasonable cost to the consumer, something that won’t happen until recession is a year or so behind us. Maybe 2014/15 even ’16….
    I hope Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo catch on to what’s happening with PC towers and create basic shells (think 360 arcade) but with easy to upgrade HDD, ram etc.

    • If you do that though, you are going to end up with the segregated market the PC has. PC’s are PC’s, let them do that job. The point of a console is to have a standard system that are all equal to avoid having to constantly upgrade and replace. I think consoles will and should always serve that purpose and PC’s should stay the way they are for the people who do want to constantly spend money having the best of hardware. HDD’s yes, I will agree on that and Sony (and Microsoft to an extent)are already doing that, but when you start messing about with RAM/graphics cards etc. you get in to messy territory, console-wise anyway.

      • Im with nemesisND1derboy on this one,

  8. Interesting news. I also read about Crytek consulting with Sony about the PS4 so Crytek had as much info as possible for their next graphics engine. Admittedly it was older news but obviously chat about the PS4 happens regularly behind closed doors whether it’s good news or not.

  9. If sales of the PS3 begin to drop it can always be redesigned again. Firmware updates can fix issues, PS2 backwards compatibility is never out of the question too. Consoles are more tha games machines, they are media hubs too, at least I thought thats what Sony wanted….

    • So, I don’t think its the end for consoles, if the above article is accurate, its good news for PS3 owners

  10. Awesome.
    I’m glad, because this means the PS4 will be that much better and cooler, since it has more time to wait for newer/better technology.

Comments are now closed for this post.