While many gamers feel the Xbox 360 and PS3 have a lot of life left in them, many publishers have played it safe this gen with cash-in quality titles, while developers continually complained about limited hardware specs. Hence, a lot of the talk around the gaming industry town has been about the next gen consoles: when they’ll arrive, what their specs will be and what the possibilities are of the games.

Well, a speculative report from an analyst suggests that the PlayStation 4 will more than likely launch first before the Xbox 720/Next/etc., and that Microsoft’s next-gen console will follow thereafter, a year later. Ubisoft believes that with the Wii U's 2012 launch Microsoft and Sony will be forced to launch sooner rather than later, but not everyone thinks that.

According to Industry Gamers, RW Baird analyst Colin Sebastian commented that…
"I doubt they will be ready for launch in 2013. Between Sony and Microsoft, we expect Sony to be first to market perhaps as early as 2013, but more likely in 2014. There is still a lot of investment for both companies to recoup in the current generation,"…

Several studios are already hard at work on next-gen games, including THQ’s Homefront 2 and Avalanche Studios’ untitled next-gen project which is scheduled to release in early 2014, which prompts many industry insiders to believe that either the PS4 or Xbox 720 will launch in 2013 or possibly in 2014, as Colin Sebastian stated.

According to Develop there are several first-party studios already hard at work on launch titles for the PS4, and doing so since earlier this year. That would put their release sometime in 213 or again…2014. Hints from FoxConn and Pegatron Technologies, Sony components manufacturers suggested, however, that they were starting production for a Sony device that would be launched in 2012. Although, most people have passed it off as a translation error or perhaps the company was referring to the PSV.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter chimed in a response to Industry Gamers about the possibilities of the next-gen console launch, speaking a lot of sense this time around with the following statements…
"Clearly, a new console will impact sales of all existing consoles. I suppose we have to guess what Sony will do (my bet is that they launch at holiday 2014 as well, so they might hold their own) and what Nintendo will do. Pricing and specs really make all the difference, so it's impossible to say what the impact will be. If the Xbox 720 is only a modest upgrade and costs $1000, it won't have much impact. If it's a tenfold increase in processing power and graphics and costs $99, it will take 100% share. The answer is probably somewhere in between."

A holiday 2014 release is a brutal launch date and gives us three more years of the PS3 and Xbox 360, which in my opinion is really wearing out welcome. If developers are already maxing out the PS3 and Xbox 360 by limiting features in games out now that are possible only on the PC (i.e., Frostbite 2.0 destructibility, Unreal Engine 3 graphics, CryEngine 3 lighting) then it’s going to be a deadly stretch squeezing more out of the console hardware throughout 2012, 2013 and the early half of 2014 without badly crippling the innovation in a lot of newer games.

One thing is for sure: we’re definitely going to be hearing something official about new consoles sometime between 2012’s E3 and 2013.

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