Recently I read an article about the PS4 release date that had the headline "Hirai Suggests PS4 Is More Than Ten Years Away".
After reading the article, I found he made no suggestion whatsoever as to when the PlayStation 4 release date would be, and again it was more speculation fanning false flames of curiosity and wonder and taking comments out of context, then it was a legitimate "suggestion ".
The original PlayStation (PS1) became the first system to sell over 100 million copies. However it did not hit this point until AFTER the PS2 came out. In fact, sold it's 100 million copy in March of 2005. This was actually 5 years AFTER it's more advanced PS2 release date. The original PlayStation is only now starting to lose it's value as games are now being made for both PS2 and PS3, but not so much the original. With the PlayStation 1 being released in 1994, and still selling strong in 2005, I'd say the users certainly got a good 10 years out of it. This was what Hirai was suggesting, the PS3 will give you at least 10 years of value. But that certainly does not mean that you will necessarily have to wait 10 years for the next system.
Hirai even followed up when he was asked if the PS4 would most definitely not be released within the 5 years and he clarified his last statement by specifying that all he meant was that Sony makes sure that they take care of their customers so that their product is still good.
But, I digress, I will allow you to develop your own opinion on the interview.
The entire interview is tough to be found on C-Net News.
Here's some excerpts.
Hirai: E3 has about a 10-year, 11-year history, if I'm not mistaken. I think it's grown to a point where it became just such a massive show that we needed to take a look at what we were trying to accomplish with the show.
Hirai: … We look at our products having a 10-year life cycle, which we've proven with the PlayStation. Therefore, the PlayStation 3 is going to be a console that's going to be with you again for 10 years. We're not going to ask the consumers to suddenly buy another PlayStation console in five years' time and basically have their investment go by the wayside. So for all those reasons, I think at $ 599 we're offering a very good value to the consumers.
CNET: Are you saying that there will not be a PlayStation 4 within five years?
Hirai: Well, I think that if you look at the history of the way we've managed our console business, we always try to hit a 10-year life cycle. I can not speculate on when we might come out with a new console after PlayStation 3. But my message is that once you become a family in the PlayStation family of products, you become a family member. We make sure that we take care of you.
When asked about pricing of the Wii vs PS3, Hirai later said the following: "Some consumers will compare features or software offerings and decide that they may want to go with a different console. You also have to realize that we have a very strong, market-leading console called the PlayStation 2, which is at a very affordable price right now. Consumers will also understand that if you buy a PlayStation 2 right now, and you make some software investments, when you feel it's right to move onto PlayStation 3 , those software titles are not going to go by the wayside. Consumers will take that into consideration. I do not think price is the only determining factor when consumers make a choice in looking at their console purchase decisions. "
When you consider all of this, I think the clear message Hirai is saying is that even WITH a new system, the previous system still has a lot of value because the new one is still going to be able to play your old games, and because the old one is still going to have new games released for it. You do not have a system like Sega where all of a sudden the genesis is replaced by the Sega Saturn until they both fail. You do not have the PlayStation replaced like you do with the Nintendo 64 suddenly replaced by game cube.
If you read the entire interview, there is nothing from this content taken in context that will result in you concluding that, "Hirai Suggests PS4 Is More Than Ten Years Away" (or even five). That's not to say that it will not take around 10 years either. It's just Hirai reassuring anyone interested in a PlayStation 3, that you will not have to worry about the PS4 making your PS3 games irrelevant. This is interesting with the speculation that PS4 games will not be discs. Perhaps there will be a way to digitally transfer information from the PS3 to the PS4. Perhaps you will purchase games on the internet like you can do now.
Assuming both of these interviews are truthful and congruent, then if Ken Kutaragi said the PS4 is coming within the next decade; and Hirai's statement indicated having every Sony PlayStation last for 10 years or more would only make sense if he was talking about the shelf life, rather than the amount of years before the next product releases.
So it's still a possibility that the PS4 gets released within the next few years, but anything suggesting it certainly will not be until 2016 or later has simply no real evidence to back it up.