Sony has invited journalists to a February press conference at the ‘future of PlayStation’, fuelling rumours of a release date for the PS4. Photograph: Daniel Law/PA
Sony dangled the potential for the upcoming announcement of its next-generation PlayStation 4 console on Friday, sending out invitations to journalists for a 20 February press conference on “the long term of PlayStation”. The tantalising prospect ignited discussion on games blogs and websites across the web, with gamers keen to see an update to the ageing console. Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbuch Securities, said in a tweet that “Sony is inviting investors and media to the Feb 20 event; that means console announcement. I’m genuinely excited”. The issuer declined to say whether it is going to in fact release a new product at the experience in New York. “We could be talking about the PlayStation business,” a spokesman told the Reuters news agency.
Sony executives have said that the PS3 is now a rewarding business after some years of losses – usual for a games console. Expectation that Sony will unveil the specifications, if now not the shape, of a PS4 console have been growing since it emerged that the enterprise has stopped making its iconic PlayStation 2 console, and with the release by Nintendo of its new Wii U console before Christmas and the anticipated launch this year by Microsoft of a next-generation Xbox . Sony has previously used conferences such as the big apple one to sing their own praises prototypes or detail specifications: in January 2011 it displayed a version of its handheld PS Vita console, and early in 2005 revealed a theory version of the PlayStation 3. Similarly, the PS2′s first public showing got here at a 1999 meeting. But the Vita is seen as being in trouble, with sales slowing down and being outstripped by those of Nintendo’s handheld devices, and by other handheld instruments such as Apple ‘s 0 iPod 0 Touch. The PS3 was launched in Japan in November 2006, but not in European markets until 2007 – meaning it missed the essential Christmas sales. That gave Nintendo a key opening, leaving the 1 Wii 1 profitable and far ahead in sales. The PS3, which has sold about 70m consoles worldwide, has been seen as a disappointment compared to the wildly in style PS2. But the shape of the games console market has also changed dramatically since the PS3 was launched, with the rise of 2 smartphones 2 and tablets meaning americans can now play games more cheaply and at the move. Nintendo said on Wednesday it was 3 cutting forecasts for sales of the Wii U 3