One of the major contributing factors to the PS3’s inability to gain initial traction during it’s launch was the fact that it came out to late. In fact, it hit shelves almost a full year after the XBOX 360, allowing Microsoft to convert many first adopters before Sony even had a product in the market place.
It looks like Sony might not let that happen again.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a source close to Sony indicates that the new console should be hitting store shelves in 2013. In addition to the relatively close release window, the source also confirmed that the system will not be a download only console as previously hinted:
Sony decided against a download-only model largely because Internet connections are too inconsistent around the world, one of the people familiar with Sony’s thinking said. Because game files are large, customers in countries where Internet connections are relatively slow would be hobbled by a requirement to download games, the person said.
Sony won the first two rounds it their console wars because they were on the cutting edge in home entertainment, not just gaming. The PS1 was the best CD player in just about any home it was in, the PS2 was the first DVD player for an incredibly large number of people. Even the PS3 found later success as a premiere Blu-Ray player, not just a gaming console. So Sony should be looking into the next step of home entertainment for the PS4.
Even though this won’t be a download only console, I expect the PS4 to attempt to become most people’s first home digital media player. Even though digital entertainment is well on the road to commonality, a PS4 in 2013 could smash down the last few barriers and really force the digital distribution infrastructure to solidify into something simple for the masses.
In any event, it is clear that Sony won’t wait around and get beaten to the public by Microsoft again. Hopefully we can get some clarity soon, stay tuned to The Flickcast for any news that might break on this subject coming out of E3 next week.