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EA makes next-gen console prediction

CEO Larry Probst will soon know whether next-gen consoles will launch in 2005 or 2006, and whether Sony plans to cut the price of PS2 again this fiscal year.

The next four to six months will reveal whether next-generation consoles will appear in 2005 or 2006, according to Electronic Arts chief executive Larry Probst.

"We will know when we begin to get first-generation development systems, because typically we get our hands on those about two years before launch," Probst told Reuters after the company's annual shareholder meeting last week. "So if they start showing up in the fall of this year, then we can pretty confidently predict it's 2005."

"If we don't start to get them until '04 then it's probably an '06 launch. So that's going to get sorted out in the next four to six months."

Probst also believes that Sony will decide on whether to cut the price of PS2 again this fiscal year within the next 30 to 45 days.

The question of when the next generation of console hardware will launch is one of the most fiercely debated in the games industry, with billions of pounds potentially resting on the answer. Sony's one-year lead last time out virtually guaranteed their long-term domination of the console market, with rivals Microsoft and Nintendo still bickering over a distant second place. Both companies announced a miniscule lead over the other at their respective pre-E3 press conferences this year.

But with Nintendo's increasingly eccentric attitude to the console war, many believe that it will be PS3 and Xbox 2 (codenamed Xenon) vying for the big numbers next time, despite rumours that Nintendo's N5 could be with the Japanese by spring 2005.

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Tom Bramwell avatar
Tom Bramwell: Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.