When you've got a product out there as futuristic as the PlayStation 3, it's nearly impossible to figure out what comes next.
Sony Computer Entertainment America CEO Jack Tretton may not even be thinking about the PlayStation 4 right now, because to him it's just so far away. In an interview with FastCompany, he confirmed that the PlayStation 3 still isn't even old enough to have a mid-life crisis, while also finding the time to get in a few jabs at competitors.
With the PlayStation 3 just a few months out from its third birthday, Tretton emphasizes that Sony is still sticking to a 10 year life-cycle for the product. "I can validate that we are in the first 25% to 30% of this generation," he said, believing this puts Sony in the "cat-bird seat," meaning it has the upper hand with the PlayStation 3 in the current console war. Ideally, he hopes that "in 2015 somebody is going to be saying, 'This is the Year of the PlayStation 3,'" and thinks the console has the "horsepower to do it with this generation."
In previous generations, companies would be looking to the next big product three years into a console's life. However, Tretton says he "can't even imagine what can be done technically beyond the PlayStation 3 in the near future." According to Tretton, the PlayStation 4 would only happen: "When somebody can craft the technology that exceeds what we're able to do on the PS3, but we are still just starting to harness it." Apparently, the level of power needed to build a PlayStation 4 would be well over 9000, an unthinkable amount by anyone's measure.
So, forget about the PS4 for now, and focus on Sony's upcoming motion controller instead. By the way, Tretton says Sony's perspective is that the company "introduced motion gaming with the EyeToy for PlayStation 2," and that it was "an incredible experience to be able to stand in front of the TV with nothing in your hands, and see yourself on the TV and interact with the objects there." Sorry Sony, but I'm pretty sure that technology was invented by Nick Arcade. He does believe that "you have to tip your hat to Nintendo for introducing the motion gaming using their controllers, [and] doing it in a more social fashion." However, he also takes a shot at Natal, saying "we all know that it was not homegrown" and that "it's certainly technology that we worked with before; we had the experience with the PS2 and EyeToy."
Motion gaming jabs aside, it remains to be seen whether the PlayStation 3 can actually hold up for a full 10 years. Microsoft is sure to come out with another product so it can put the debacle of the extremely defective Xbox 360 behind it, though we're at the point where a company can't just come out with a new machine that doubles the amount of "bits" to get people to buy it. I would expect whatever the next Xbox is to somehow negate the advantage of the PS3's Blu-ray discs if possible, perhaps with a proprietary disc format like Nintendo used for the GameCube. For the PlayStation 3 to truly last 10 years, Sony must have some kind of strong plan in place, not just a new controller for people to wave around. It's easy to say that the PS3 will last after its strongest holiday season, but seven more years is a very long time.