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Sony exec hints at PlayStation 4 announcement in spring

Perhaps tipping his hand a bit about Sony's "big secret," VP Hiroshi Sakamoto directs our gaze toward the 2013 edition of the big E3 games conference.

PlayStation 3
Sony introduced a super slim version of its PlayStation 3 in September.
Sony Computer Entertainment America

Sony's vice president of home entertainment, Hiroshi Sakamoto, has hinted that the next-generation PlayStation 4 console may be announced in the coming months.

In an interview with Chilean Web site Emol, Sakamoto implied that the Playstation 4 may be ready for formal introduction by the time 2013's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) appears on the calendar, or perhaps even sooner.

When asked whether a next-generation playstation console will be seen within the new few months, the VP told the publication:

That's still a big secret, but our friends are preparing Sony PlayStation. I can only say that we are focused on the E3 gaming event, scheduled for June. [An] announcement may be [made] in that minute or even earlier in May.

Sakamoto went on to say that there would "probably" be a big announcement at E3, but consumers will have to wait until May at the earliest. Even if the hardware is revealed at E3 -- an event comparable to CES for gamers -- it is unlikely we will get our hands on the console, reportedly being developed under the project name "Orbis," until later in the year.

Whenever it arrives, Sony's next console will be contending for consumer dollars against the likes of Microsoft's yet-to-be-introduced next-generation XBox.

Rumors surrounding Sony's next console have suggested that the PlayStation 4's specifications will include a customized chip based on AMD's A8-3850 with a quad-core 2.9GHz processor and a 1GHz graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory. Hardly the cutting edge of technology, but as other reports have suggested that the console has been designed for affordability, these kinds of facilities aren't surprising.

Most console manufacturers have generally kept to the tradition of a five-year shelf life for their devices. However, Sony has always gone against the grain, saying that its products have double the lifespan -- and as long they remain commercially viable. Patrick Seybold, senior director of corporate communications for Sony Computer Entertainment, told CNET last year:

We at PlayStation have never subscribed to the concept that a console should last only a half-decade. Both the original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 had life cycles of more than 10 years, and PlayStation 3 will as well. The 10-year life cycle is a commitment we've made with every PlayStation consumer to date, and it's part of our philosophy that we provide hardware that will stand the test of time providing that fun experience you get from day one for the next decade.

Correction, 2:10 p.m. PT: The headline of this story earlier incorrectly described what Sakamoto said about what may be coming in the spring. He said there may be a PlayStation announcement in that time frame (and not a launch).