A bizarre, disturbing, yet thoroughly plausible scenario popped up in my field of vision earlier today. It started as so many scenarios do, with a tweet. That tweet, meanwhile, kicked off a cascade effect that stands to alter the next generation of console gaming but good.
The tweet came from Sony, which comprised of just a link. But the link contained a date, a time, and a critical piece of information: February 20, 2013, six PM eastern, and the line "See the future".
Sony isn't tipping its hand as to just what will be coming out at that event, but current reports indicated that what "the future" actually is is nothing less than the next PlayStation
. Currently code-named "Orbis", and generally being called the PlayStation 4, this was commonly expected to not be shown until the E3 event this June.
What stepped up the timetable, you wonder? No one's quite sure. But the word from a recent conference call from Electronic Arts'
CEO provided some possibility, as Electronic Arts was said to be putting up fully $80 million in software development for what it called "gen 4" consoles this fiscal year. That doesn't seem to include the Wii U, which CEO John Riccitiello called part of "a pretty sharp distinction".
But if Sony does unveil the PlayStation 4 right now, that would suggest a much earlier launch than anyone expected...not to mention putting Microsoft
behind the eight ball that formerly had been thought to be Sony's position. But what will Microsoft do in reply? It can't very well stick to its E3 timetable--if that was ever really the case--and let Sony own the blogosphere and beyond until June. But is Sony showing its hand too soon? If it shows now but won't be ready for launch until the end of the year, it risks losing a lot of momentum.
Timetables may be getting stepped up here, and 2013 may be a much bigger year in console gaming than anyone saw coming.