Industry sources may go anonymous but that doesn't mean they don't like to share every secret they've got locked up type. We play and work in a billion dollar industry that does more crystal-ball gazing than movies, TV, and music combined.
That's why you need to pay attention when rumors start circulating about the next generation of consoles. The latest word is that Microsoft and Sony will allow Nintendo's next generation Project Cafe console go unopposed for what could be a full two years.
Nintendo currently plans to release Project Cafe into the wild in the fall of 2012, assuming we're not all dead within the year. Microsoft and Sony appear to be aiming for the year 2014. Speaking with Kotaku, one insider had this to say:
Both MS and Sony are telegraphing to each other that they're delaying, to milk the current [generation] and fill in previous craters better.
The same source says that Microsoft isn't entirely sure what components will make up the next Xbox's hardware and that the company is considering whether to sell their next home console at a loss or at a profit.
While I understand the importance of hardware in the marketplace, I think a few extra years for the PS3 and Xbox 360 wouldn't harm Sony and Microsoft at all. Thinking back to the end of the PlayStation 2's lifecycle, God of War 2 stands out as one of the best looking, best playing games in... well, the PS2's 10 year lifecycle.
The best games come from developers after they've had ample time to learn a system inside and out. With the Wii hardware resembling a Gamecube (perhaps a little too closely) developers have probably already maxed out the machine. It makes sense for Nintendo release a new system.
Microsoft and Sony should continue to focus on their software development. Microsoft, in particular, needs to push for more exclusives, no matter where they're coming from, and enhancements to Xbox Live. The fact that Sony is allowing cross-platform play on Portal 2 through Steamworks is a huge blow to the Live platform. What happened to all the connectivity Microsoft used to promise? Why can't you play games across the PC and Xbox 360 with Live?
Sony's ability to grow isn't stopping anytime soon either. With software exclusives and platform-exclusive content, the PS3 has a lot to work in the next two years as well. Sony and PS3 just needs to keep doing what they've been doing to continue to gain market share.