Taiwanese industry rag DigiTimes quoted an unnamed source stating that Sony’s next generation console will be going into production by the end of this year. Sony’s PS3 production partners, Foxconn and Pegatron Technology, are said to be retooling assembly lines in anticipation of this event. More interesting is the mention of a Kinect-like motion sensing accessory rumored to be released in conjunction with the upcoming PS4.

This rumor is interesting on many levels. First and foremost, this goes against all current public information disseminated by Sony. While Sony has confirmed that development for the next generation console is “well under way,” they have also continued to maintain that the PS3 has a 10 year lifecycle – which true, would mean a successor is not expected before 2015.

Second, this rumor also clashes with what we’ve seen from the recent Sony E3 Press Conference, in which Sony showed off possibly the strongest yet line-up of exclusives and content for the PS3. Headlining this event was the eagerly awaited title, “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Fortune.” Uncharted is a key system seller for Sony. If a PS4 were to be released in 2012, Sony would have made plans to scratch this as a PS3 release for this year and push it as a PS4 launch title for the next generation console.

Finally, Sony is already under pressure from preparing to launch the Playstation Vita (NGP) later this year, with 80+ titles already under development. It is unlikely Sony can pull off launching both a new handheld and a new console all in the same calendar year. The major stimulus for shortening the PS3 lifecycle probably comes from post-E3 rumors of Microsoft’s next Xbox console coming out at next year’s E3. Microsoft made a point of beating Sony to market with the Xbox 360 after losing badly during the prior generation, and they are likely to do so again with their next console. Given these facts, it is unlikely we’ll see the PS4 next year.

However, the mention of a Kinect-like motion sensor could have merit. Sony’s Move was developed to be more Wii-like, while Microsoft’s Kinect was a radical departure in terms of motion control. The market responded very well to Kinect while interest in Sony’s take on motion control lagged far behind. Sony’s pursuit of a Kinect-like accessory is not as far fetched as you may think, as Sony’s Eye-Toy has been used for basic motion sensing and image capture since the days of the PS2. An enhancement to this technology could make Sony’s next-gen motion sensors very much like the Kinect.

In any case, if you were hoping for a PS4 sooner rather than later, don’t hold your breath.

Source: DigiTimes, Sony E3 Press Conference (G4TV)

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