Sony gave the first signs of the PlayStation 4 already in development through the earnings call for its latest results. The electronics giant's CFO Masaru Kato explained a rise in research and development costs by noting that "development work is already underway" for the PS3's future replacement. He couldn't say what it was or when it would ship in VentureBeat's recall of the event, although the timing made it unlikely it would be 2011.
Its research is likely to be early since research costs often have to go up the most when working on new silicon, such as processors and graphics. Demand goes down once the focus is on minor hardware components or software.
Sony isn't under as much pressure to replace the PS3, which while still below the Xbox 360 and Wii is keeping solid performance. Most of its push has been to replace the struggling PSP with the NGP. Sony posted its worst loss in 16 years in its past fiscal year owed primarily to slow TV sales, the Japanese earthquake, and the PSN hack, among other factors.