Andrew House, the president of Sony Interactive Entertainment, has said that he was "surprised" to see Microsoft announce its next console 'Project Scorpio' at E3 given how far away it is from release.
"I was surprised by the step of announcing something over a year ahead of time," House said, talking to The Guardian about Scorpio's reveal. "The dynamics of the tech industry are such that there's a much heavier emphasis on immediate gratification than there was. A lot of that is to do with how Apple has very cleverly and elegantly managed the 'available now' approach. So yes, that was a slight surprise to me."
Microsoft announced the new console on Monday, confirming a holiday 2017 release. It didn't, however, reveal the actual hardware, prompting House to recall the questions Sony received back in 2013 when it announced the PS4 without showing the console.
"We experienced this ourselves," he continued, "when, in 2013, very much in line with our previous strategies, we announced a concept and a name for PlayStation 4, and everyone said ‘where’s the box? How dare you?!’ That was the point we realised, well, we hadn’t changed but the world around us had."
Xbox Live's Major Nelson was one of those asking questions. "Announce a console without actually showing a console? That's one approach," he tweeted following the announcement in 2013.
"It worked for them…", he tweeted this week after his message was called out on social media.
Sony is working on new console, too, of course - PlayStation 4 Neo - but chose not to discuss it during its E3 press conference, instead confirming its existence in the days leading up to it.
"The point of confirming the existence of PlayStation 4 Neo and the bare bones of the plan last week was about not disappointing the fan base who would obviously come to E3 with high expectations of all kinds of announcements," House said. "And from past experience, the worst thing you can do is disappoint and pull the rug away from people. That’s why we went out last week and said, yes, it does exist but don’t expect to see it at E3. I think it was the right thing to do."
A release date for PlayStation 4 Neo has yet to be confirmed. House's reference to Apple, however, could suggest Sony has plans to release the console quickly following its reveal.