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Sony PlayStation 4 heading for an E3 reveal, according to company VP

Sony's PlayStation 4, its next-generation console, could be announced at the Electronics Entertainment Expo (E3) - the same event at which Microsoft is expected to unveil its Xbox 720 console.

Speaking to Chilean news site Emol, Sony Computer Entertainment vice-president Hiroshi Sakamoto claimed that something big is being planned for the E3 event. "That's still a big secret," Sakamoto told the site in response to a question about the likely launch date for a PlayStation 4 console, "but our colleagues are preparing for the Sony PlayStation. I can only say that we are focused on the E3 gaming event, scheduled for June. [An] announcement may be [made] in that minute or even earlier in May."

That flies in the face of earlier claims that the PlayStation 4, codenamed Orbis, would not be launching until 2014 - giving Microsoft's Xbox 720, which is thought to be launching in time for the lucrative Christmas sales period following an E3 unveiling, a similar head-start over its rival as the Xbox 360 enjoyed over the PlayStation 3.

Sakamoto's comments don't relate to a launch, however: there would be nothing to stop Sony from demonstrating a pre-production prototype of the PlayStation 4 console at E3 ahead of a Christmas launch, or even the previously-rumoured 2014 launch - aside from the risk that it would harm sales of the current-generation PlayStation 3 as buyers hold off in order to wait for the latest and greatest to arrive.

Sony, naturally, has refused to comment on speculation surrounding its next-generation console.

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