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.