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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.