The revelation came after Sony CFO Masaru Kato had to explain why the company's research and development costs were so high in a recent financial reports. Said Kato, "For the home equipment the PS3 still has a product life. But this is a platform business, so for the future platform - when we'll be introducing what product I cannot discuss that - but our development work is already under way, so the costs are incurred there."
The PS3 was billed largely as a "future-proof" console that Sony said was destined to last 10 years at the very least. The system came out in 2006 so it has not quite reached the half-way point of that life cycle yet.
Of course, just because the company has begun pouring in research funds to start working on the PS3 successor, that doesn't mean a PS4 launch is imminent by any means. It could take years before an actual product comes from the research and development phase.
The PS3 had been on an increasing sales trend over the last year or so, proving that it was building momentum since its launch, unlike the Wii which started strong but has been waning. However, all bets were off when Sony faced the massive hacking attack that crippled the PS3's Playstation Network. That has put a huge wrench in the works, and even has some questioning the future of the console. It may have done damage beyond the point of repair to some extent.
This is not the first massive controversy Sony has faced. The company is an expert at damage control and is nothing if not resilient. It will bounce back after this, and by the time we are ready to actually talk about a PS4 launch date, this whole issue will have been swept under the rug.
As for what the PS4 will bring to the table, that's anyone's guess. Over the years, a lot of rumors have been circulating around the Net, including the idea of a disc-less console that relies only on a hard drive and/or cloud server.
Via Tom's Guide