Sony shelves PS4 as PS2 passes 150 million sales

As sales of Sony's now elderly PlayStation 2 surpass some 150 million units, indications are that the console maker may be putting plans for its next-generation PS4 console on hold as it mulls the ever-increasing handheld market.

Sony Computer Entertainment president Kaz Hirai told Japanese site PC Watch that plans for the next-generation console are currently suspended as the company seeks to improve the online PlayStation experience.

Hirai says a console generation lasts ten years. Indeed the record-breaking PS2 is now in its twelfth year. The PS3 by comparison is a mere pup at less than five.

He said various plans for the fourth generation hardware had come and gone. Intel was in the running with its Larrabee adventure which ran into stumbling blocks of its own. IBM's alternative Power-based architecture was due a refresh in 2010 but that too ended back on the drawing board, according to Hirai.

Sony won't be using a 32/28nm process for an update to the Power-based Cell Broadband Engine that forms the heart of the PS3.

"Perhaps the next generation is going to be a 22nm/20nm or subsequent generations of the process," Hirai said.

He said wannabe console rival Microsoft would be at a similar stage of development and claimed it wouldn't be looking to develop a next-generation Xbox for a few years yet either. "Microsoft also has a plan," he said, claiming it was also "at a not-very advanced stage".

And as the world embraces mobile technology, it is the portable gaming system that is taking up Sony's development push.

As a result, the battle for the next generation console is likely to take place in the palm of your hand.