Sony PlayStation 4: 2013 Release Date ‘Leaked’
A fresh "leak" has emerged suggesting Sony has begun developing the successor to its popular PlayStation 3 console, hoping to release the next generation device late in 2013.

Just as Sony finally managed to reactivate the PSN in its native Japan, two fresh sets of rumors have arisen alleging not only that it is in the process of completely redesigning the network, but also that its next generation PlayStation 4 console is set be in stores as early as 2012.

PlayStation 4, or 3.5?

The news regarding the PlayStation 4 took on new life Wednesday as a report from Digitimes claimed unnamed sources had revealed that the new console was set for release in 2012 alongside Nintendo's Wii U. Digitimes reported that unnamed sources revealed Sony had instructed the Taiwan-based Foxcon and Pegatron Technology manufacturers to begin assembly of as many as 20 million PS4s earlier this year.

Foxconn and Pegatron Technology are the two companies that assembled Sony's current PS3 console.

The report went on to reveal that the new PS4 would contain "body movement-based" controls similar in kind to the Xbox 360's Kinect.

Digitimes' latest scoop isn't the first time reports of a new PlayStation have surfaced. Earlier this year in a meeting with shareholders, Sony accidentally revealed that it had begun developing a new console.

Whether this new console will in fact be the next generation PlayStation 4 is a matter of contention. Many analysts have argued that a new upgraded model of the PS3 is far more likely, with the company preferring to wait and see what Microsoft is planning before it fully commits to creating a whole new console.

The new PlayStation Network

Running in tandem with the PS4 rumours is the whisper that Sony is in the process of completely redesigning its PlayStation Network.

Again coming from unnamed sources, the initial "leak" about the new PSN was reported in the Register's hardware section. According to the report the new version is set to do away with the current PSN's iconic blue interface, replacing it with a more "image-driven layout" akin to its Xbox Live competitor.

According to the Register, the redesign would also work to "de-clutter" the network's interface, working to implement "an aesthetic layout with logically marked sections and rolodex lists."

The new design will also reportedly host a slew of fresh features including a new live search function, a new movie section built with its own IMDB-style database and a newly organized games section within the PlayStation Store.

Can the rumours be trusted?

While neither publication named its sources, the notion that Sony is developing a new version of its PNS and PlayStation console is not entirely beyond the realm of possibility.

The company and its current generation PSP and PS3 consoles have suffered through a prolonged period of PR hell after the company's networks fell victim to a series of hacks.

The initial attack that happened in April left as many as 100 million Sony customers' account and billing information compromised. The company was only able to begin a phased reactivation of the service a month later. It was only this week that the company managed to restore the network to full service across the world.

This initial loss of public trust was then cemented when the hacking collective LulzSec enacted further attacks on its BMG music department and entertainment website.

Sony may well have decided that it's better to cut its losses and hedge its bets on the next generation of consoles.

Sony is yet to confirm the validity of the Digitimes and Register reports.