January 19, 2013, 7:05 AM — Can't wait until E3 to learn all about Sony's next PlayStation and Microsoft's next Xbox? You may not have to.
New reports suggest that Microsoft and Sony will reveal their next game consoles before the big trade show in June. Instead of waiting for E3, they'll each hold their own "Apple-style press conferences" in late March, according to the February issue of Game Informer (via VideoGamer).
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The announcements would happen around the time of the Game Developers Conference that month, but would be separate events, Game Informer reported. Sony and Microsoft would still use E3 to announce game lineups -- and presumably provide hands-on time -- but separate hardware events would prevent them from getting buried among other news from the show.
Game Informer tends to be a reliable source for rumors. In April 2011, for instance, the magazine accurately reported that Nintendo would reveal its next game console at E3 that year, and would release the system in late 2012. On Sunday, however, Spanish site Emol quoted Hiroshi Sakamoto, Sony's vice president of home entertainment, as saying its next console wouldn't be revealed until May at the earliest.
Either way, it seems that both companies would prefer to hold separate events to announce their future game consoles if possible.
This wouldn't be a big surprise; ever since Apple stopped delivering keynotes at Macworld Expo after 2009, tech companies have warmed to the idea of having their own press events instead of timing their big announcements around trade shows. That way, they get plenty of attention through live blogs -- and in some cases, live video feeds -- and dominate the news cycle in the days that follow. The video game console business has grown so large that hardware makers no longer need big trade shows to get attention.
Regardless of when the announcements drop, the next Xbox and PlayStation are both expected to launch in late 2013. The next PlayStation, or "Orbis" as it's reportedly codenamed, will likely support 4K resolution gaming and will of course have the usual boosts in performance and memory. Rumored features for the next Xbox include an enhanced version of Kinect, a Blu-ray player and, eventually, a pair of glasses for augmented reality gaming.