Sony might be firing the starting pistol on the next generation of game consoles earlier than we thought. Hiroshi Sakamoto, the company's vice president of home entertainment, told Chilean tech site Emol "we must wait until May at the earliest" for the PlayStation 4.
"That's still a big secret, but our friends are preparing Sony PlayStation," Sakamoto teased, as translated by the Google magicians. "I can only say that we are focused on the E3 gaming event, scheduled for June's announcement may be in that minute or even earlier in May."
E3, in June, is the enormous annual show -- like CES for gamers -- that was expected to see the debuts of both the PlayStation 4 and next Xbox. But Sony might be taking a leaf out of Apple and (lately) Samsung's book and holding its own separate launch event to hog the limelight.
Asked if a pre-E3 event would be a proper announcement or just a teaser, Sakamoto replied, "Probably the first, in that time we expect to deliver great news, but we must wait until May at least."
While the launch would show us what the hardware looks like, whether it has any controller gimmicks and what we can expect in terms of exclusive games, we almost certainly won't get our hands on the PS4 until much later in the year.
The PS2 reached Europe in November 2000, while the PS3 launched in Japan in November 2006, but we had to wait until March the following year. Seven years on, a near-simultaneous worldwide launch is all but guaranteed.
The PS3 was £299 when it launched, a year later than its bitter rival the Xbox 360. After a couple of redesigns and major price drops, it finally outsold Microsoft's console a few months ago. The PS4 is likely to be cheaper, thanks to third-party components (as opposed to the PS3's expensive and hard to code proprietary Cell chip).
The whole tech industry worked itself into a later over the astonishing world-changing properties of 4K TVs at CES -- so I'd be amazed if the PS4 didn't support the ultra hi-def resolution. Sony has TVs of its own to sell, after all.