PlayStation 4 Release Date: Could The 2013 Launch Of Sony's Next Console Usher In An Era Of Console Wars That Isn't Focused On Tech Specs?

Are you a Sony fan hoping that the PlayStation 4 release date would bring confirmation that your upcoming console of choice would once again be able to claim possession of the best-available tech specs for another generation of gaming hardware?

Well, you may be disappointed in a few weeks, because new reports suggest that Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 4 reveal could come with a new focus on alternative ways to interact with and play your favorite games. According to Nikkei, Sony will refocus on turning the PlayStation 4 into the centerpiece of its owner’s home entertainment center, and at least one report claims that this could mean going as far as bundling the second-generation PlayStation Eye with the new console. Sony can’t possibly be unaware of the success that Microsoft has had with the Kinect, and will likely be looking to create a more immersive home gaming experience to match the rival camera accessory.

Microsoft and Sony have remained mostly silent on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 up to this point, with the only information about the consoles coming from industry insiders, leaked information, and heavy speculation from blogs and major media outlets alike. While it’s widely believed that both companies are pushing to have their respective consoles reveal-ready as soon as possible, previous reports haven’t discussed the importance that each company is placing on machine superiority. Of course, with Sony expected to officially unveil the PlayStation 4 in less than two weeks, we shouldn’t have to wait much longer.

Of course, in many cases, gaming news leaks (much like political news “leaks”) come from the individual, group, or organization allegedly trying to keep the information secret. It’s very possible that the company is downplaying the hardware angle in response to recent trends in gaming, particularly considering that early reports from VGLeaks point to Sony’s “Orbis” dev kit being more powerful than the “Durango” dev kits being sent out by Microsoft.

It’s also possible that Sony is simply responding to — and attempting to replicate — the success Nintendo has found with recent devices like theNintendo 3DS handheld and Wii U game consoles. The two companies are essentially the sole remaining competitors for Japanese hardware sales, with Microsoft’s Xbox 360 failing to ever secure a serious market share compared to the PlayStation 3 or Nintendo Wii, and Sony likely sees the company as a major threat globally as well. With Wii U sales numbers still relatively low, Sony likely sees a window for the PlayStation 4 to take back a share of the market from the Wii/Wii U, and the sudden focus on “new playing options” could simply be an attempt to capitalize on that opportunity.

Earlier this months, a report from Edge Magazine claimed that Sony would not be able to clear European Union regulatory hurdles in time to release the PlayStation 4 before 2014, despite current plans to launch the company’s next console in North America and Japan before the end of 2013. It’s also been widely reported that Sony will abandon its iconic DualShock controllers over rising costs associated with its rumble feature, and could be considering ablock on used games with the PlayStation 4. Similar reports have also surfaced about the Xbox 720 this week, leading many to wonder if the rumors could be true after all, and to a noticeable drop in the value of GameStop shares.

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