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The latest news on the next PlayStation from Sony, the PS4, is that the earlier suggestion of a cloud-only device, with no physical media, has now been decided against with the firm deciding that the failed launch of the PSP Go shows that physical media isn’t dead just yet.

The news that physical media will very much be part of the PS4 comes alongside new suggestions that the game console is set to arrive a little earlier than first thought. With all the smart money being on a late 2013, early 2014 release, sources for The Wall Street Journal now claim that a release could potentially be much, much sooner.

With fresh rumors that Microsoft will be bringing the new Xbox to market during the next year, Sony may also be on the lookout for a launch window that is closer to the first six months of 2013. If these claims are indeed true, then Sony will need to be much further into its development cycle than previously thought, and potentially be ready to announce something at this year’s E3.

Both Sony and Microsoft’s current consoles, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 respectively, are undergoing transformations from simple gaming machines to hubs for our digital worlds, which is somewhat a good thing. Both consoles are offering video and music streaming services through in-house and third-party applications. It would be surprising if either next generation machine moves away from this method of diversifying a concept that has provided huge sales throughout the last twenty years. Where both machines go next time around will be very interesting to see. Throw in Nintendo and its replacement for the popular Wii, and this round of consoles could potentially be some of the most interesting since the days of the Genesis and SNES.

Sony

One thing is for sure, as gamers, we stand to benefit from two, possibly three gaming giants potentially fighting it out for our hard earned cash. If Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo can all get consoles out relatively close together, then we could be in for fireworks. As is always the case though, games are where consoles win generations, so we will reserve judgment until we’ve had a controller in-hand and experienced the magic ourselves.

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