Most consoles last an average of five to six years on the market—the PlayStation launched in late 1994, the PlayStation 2 (PS2) in late 2000, and the PlayStation 3 (PS3) in November 2006. This cycle isn’t just unique to Sony: Nintendo roughly followed the same pattern with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985, the Super NES in 1991, and the Nintendo 64 in 1996. Many people expected the PlayStation 4 to launch this year or next, but still little to nothing is known about it—until today, when Sony said that the PlayStation 3 would be supported through 2015. This implies that we probably won’t see the PlayStation 4 until at least 2015, or even later.
“We’re going to continue supporting the PS3 for the next few years. Absolutely. And we’re going to continue supporting it not only that long, but as long as there is a development spigot that’s running hot. And I can tell you right now, the development spigot for PS3 is very hot. A lot of great games coming. Same thing with PS2…it’s kind of stuck around as that old warrior, many years after its launch. But there’s still games launching for it,” Sony VP of hardware marketing John Koller said.
Sony and one of its main competitors in the console market, Microsoft, had been planning ten-year life cycles for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 for a while now, so it will be interesting to see where console gaming will go this decade, especially with the rise of mobile gaming on smartphones and the success of games such as Angry Birds for the platform.