January 31, 2013, 11:28 PM — Sony will hold a PlayStation event in the U.S. later this month amid widespread speculation it is gearing up to launch the PS4.
The company's game division, Sony Computer Entertainment, posted a cryptic video along with the date Feb. 20. The video shows close-ups of the four symbols that appear on PlayStation controllers.
The web page is titled "meeting2013" and a press event is scheduled to be held in New York on the day. Sony executives, including CEO Kazuo Hirai and SCE CEO Andrew House, have refused to comment on potential launch dates for the next generation console in recent months, noting that the PS3 is selling well and is profitable after years of selling at a loss.
"This will be an event to talk about the future of the PlayStation business," said SCE spokesman Satoshi Fukuoka in Tokyo.
He declined to comment further, saying only that Sony occasionally holds such gatherings. The last one was in 2011 in Tokyo to discuss the handheld Vita console.
The first three PlayStation consoles were launched six years apart - in 1994, 2000 and 2006 - making the timing seem right for a new version. Sony is rumored to be working on the new console under the name "Orbis."
"Sony is inviting investors and media to the Feb 20 event; that means console announcement," said Michael Pachter, research analyst at Wedbush Securities in a Twitter message.
Sony's main competitor, Microsoft, is also thought to be gearing up for a successor to its Xbox 360 to be released this year. While those companies pursue hard-core gamers that want advanced graphics and high-end specs, Nintendo goes after a more casual market with lower-end hardware.
Nintendo has struggled with its next-generation console, the Wii U, released late last year. This week the company slashed its sales targets and said it would revamp its strategy around the device.