Sony doesn't want to be late for the PS4 launch

Nintendo already plans to launch the successor to its Wii game console, the Wii U, sometime in 2012. But if that's true, that means that Sony may not wait much longer than that to release the successor to its own Playstation 3 console.

Eurogamer reports that at a press event in London this week to promote the upcoming launch of the portable console the PS Vita, PlayStation Europe head man Jim Ryan said, "I think we would consider it undesirable to be significantly later than the competition [with the next PlayStation]."

At the same time he added, "There's still a lot of unfinished business on PS3." That likely means that Sony will continue to support its current console well beyond the launch of any successor, much like how Sony supported the PS1 and PS2 consoles well after their next-generation versions launched.

Sony launched the PS3 in 2006, one year after Microsoft launched the Xbox 360. Sony has managed to stay competitive to the Xbox 360 in Europe even with the one year head start of Microsoft's console although the Xbox 360 has consistently beaten the PS3 in terms of sales here in the US.

If Ryan and Sony keep to its word, its likely that the PS4 could launch by the end of 2013 if Nintendo sticks to its 2012 release schedule for the Wii U. With new rumors that Microsoft is eyeing a 2013 launch for the successor for the Xbox 360, we could see the next-gen console race start in earnest in the next two years.

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