Following a more than 12-year run and shipments of 150 million units, production of Sony's PlayStation 2 console has ended worldwide. The company's next-generation PlayStation console is expected to be introduced later this year, but analysts expects it will be less revolutionary than previous-generation consoles.
"Sony is right to make the PlayStation 4 with off-the-shelf parts," says Matt Martin of the gaming news site Gamesindustry.Biz. "The company really doesn't have the money to manufacture a new home console, let alone create bespoke technology for it as it did with the PlayStation 3. The entire Sony Corporation [bonds] has been downgraded to junk status by Fitch."
Some think the PS4 and Xbox 720 will be the last console generation, with machines designed as customisable units. "I envisage them as scalable off-the-peg PC hardware," said Tim Clark, editorial director at Future Publishing and an ex-editor of the Official PlayStation Magazine. "You will be able to upgrade them very easily with plug-and-play graphics cards, CPUs and so on, but you would have the simple interface of traditional consoles. Certainly the idea of console cycles that last seven years seems like a busted flush now."