Sony has confirmed that work on a "future platform" to follow the PS3 "is already under way".
Sony's executive vice president and chief financial officer Masaru Kato made the revelation on a conference call to investors today. He was asked to explain increased research and development (R&D) costs.
"For the home equipment the PS3 still has a product life," he said, "but this is a platform business, so for the future platform - when we'll be introducing what product I cannot discuss that - but our development work is already under way, so the costs are incurred there."
Kato's comments are in direct contrast those of Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kaz Hirai's. Hirai said, three months ago in March, that "a near-future PS4 or next-generation home console is not something that we are even debating now".
Hirai stressed that Sony wasn't "even at the half-way point" in PS3's lauded 10-year plan.
This console cycle may be destined to last longer than previous generations, but there are already rumours of top-tier publishing partners receiving prototype dev kits of Microsoft's new Xbox.
Meanwhile Nintendo has plans to formerly unveil Wii 2 - codenamed Project Cafe - at E3 next month.