Sony confirms development of future games platforms

High research and development costs due to new technology, says CFO

Sony executives have confirmed that a portion of research and design costs for the fiscal year are set aside for the development of future games platforms.

Also noting that the company is spending on the forthcoming NGP handheld, chief financial officer Masaru Kato said development is already underway on hardware that will succeed the current PlayStation 3.

"We have a portable, NGP, to be launched later this year, so we have development expenses to be incurred for this product. And for the home equipment, the PS3, this still has a product life, but this is a platform business," he said.

"So for the future platform, when we will be introducing what product I cannot discuss that, but our development work is already underway and the costs are incurred there."

It's the first official acknowledgement that Sony is researching and prototyping future hardware, although what format it will take and a timeline to completion is not known at this point.

However, it contradicts Sony boss Kaz Hirai's statements from March, in which he said that the company was not even debating any near-future home console while the PlayStation 3 is still selling so well and only half way through its intended 10 year lifecycle.

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Latest comments (10)

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
I can't believe he is still talking about a 10 year life cycle. Every single hardware company wants their product to last 10+ years. It's not some grand plan. It's not some corporate decision in the early planning stage to have the console last 10 years. It's nothing more than a marketing phrase to get consumers to believe Sony will support their console longer than MS who was forced to stop support early on the Xbox. ALL the consoles with heavy consumer and dev/pub support have lasted 10 years on the market. That's just the nature of the industry.
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Haven Tso Web-based Game Reviewer 8 years ago
Looks like everyone is trying to say something because of the imminent Project Cafe announcement. The market has become so competitive that everyone has to say something to steal competitor's glory. As big as companies like Sony and Microsoft, their R&D division will always be researching and developing on something. Whether these specs and kits eventually become new products is another story.
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Private Industry 8 years ago
Not surprising at all. Every company starts to think about the next product once the latest one hits the market. Thats just how things are.
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Bruno Brøsted Incident Manager 8 years ago
@Jimmy Webb: "ALL the consoles with heavy consumer and dev/pub support have lasted 10 years on the market."! I'm sorry but that's not my impression and also don't buy that MS was forced to kill the XBOX it was more that their design did not allow for them to make it cheap enough so they killed it.
Please do list what other consoles than the ones from Sony have had a market life of 10 years.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
NES, SNES, Genesis (MegaDrive), Atari 2600, Gameboy - All had 10 year shelf lives.

MS was forced to cut the Xbox early and jump to the X360 because nVidia and the Xbox HDD suppliers refused to come down on their price. While the Xbox had price cuts, it was only to keep price competitive with Sony. Actual hardware costs were not dropping much which put MS deeper into the red every fiscal year. That is why when they made the X360, they went with ATi for the GPU instead of nVidia and used a different licensing model for it and the HDD to allow the usual price negotiations.
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Gregory Hommel writer 8 years ago
I have news for some people. Sony has never stopped R&D for future consoles, and they never will. I hate to see official acknowledgement considering I'm still waiting for third party publishers to show me what they can do with the PS3. Who knows, maybe they aren't even going to give it a try. I suspect Agent will be the barometer as to whether third companies can make a profit by investing solely in the PS3's unique feature set. Until then, rest assured. Sony's scientists and engineers, the guys who never see the light of day, will never rest. No matter how much success or profit they achieve.
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Bruno Brøsted Incident Manager 8 years ago
@Jimmy Webb: Thank you for the clarification. I must admit that thinking so long back in time was simply not on my mind. I guess we can agree that only Sony has been doing it lately if somewhat with the exception of the Gameboy.

As for the XBOX the I maintain it was a monetary choice brought on by bad design and not really that they we're forced as in by law or anything, also even when they stopped making the consoles at least they could have let the online support and production of games continue - I'm sure for some years many XBOX owners would have bought games for that platform if any were made (I know I would).
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Bruno, I 'm under the impression that games were still produced for the system until late 2008, service was continued until 2009 and that Xbox Live for the system was only shut off last year.

For a console that had just 22 million units sold by the time the X360 was launched (and 24 million total lifetime...that's not bad.
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Dennis Wan Game Designer, Nanyang Polytechnic8 years ago
Personally I think developers are getting left behind, trying to catch up to all the new technology being introduced. Only the big boys will be able to utilize the power of the new consoles effectively, while many smaller developers have to turn away from console development completely due to cost. Small companies were able to develop for the Wii on a relatively low budget, but that will change once the WiiHD comes in. Will there still be room for budding developers in this future landscape?
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Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert8 years ago
@Dennis Wan
"Will there still be room for budding developers in this future landscape?"
Let´s hope so. Small developers are most likely to push innovation rather than graphics due to their low budget. I personally waited for an easy to handle RPG maker on consoles nearly 15 years. Since last week there´s an indie game called "the avatar legend" that features a great editor.
Aslong as dev-kits aren´t easy enough to be owned for small companys there will be a lack of developers.
Edit: Not to forget the license costs, but I am no expert at this, so I am just guessing ;)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Joe Winkler on 30th May 2011 11:42am

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