Thus far, everything we’ve heard about the next-generation has been vague. Countless rumours have pegged Sony’s fourth home console for late 2013, but that opinion appears to be changing. In a speculative piece posted this evening, North American website Kotaku has suggested that the PlayStation 4 may not be as close as we think.

According to the report – based on conversations with “people” at major gaming events such as the recent VGAs – insiders are confident that Microsoft’s next console will launch in time for Christmas 2013. However, the same sources are less sure of the PS4 hitting during the same time frame.

The story adds that while Microsoft’s console is supposedly prompting plenty of buzz in development circles, Sony’s machine is inspiring less positivity. “I've had a hard time discerning how much lost confidence is due to the on-and-off troubles of the PlayStation 3 and the struggles of the Vita versus how much lost confidence is due to any problems looming for PS4,” explains author Stephen Totilo.

If the PS4 really is tracking behind the next Xbox, could the malaise be attributed to a lack of understanding about Sony's plans? Or could it be a continued example of North America's bias towards Microsoft's gaming brand? Without direct access to the same sources that Kotaku spoke to, it's difficult to extract any further understanding from the quote – but it's concerning nonetheless.

One thing’s for sure, if the site's contacts are correct, both the PS4 and Xbox 720 are going to be serious powerhouses. The site claims that Microsoft’s next console is roughly eight times more powerful than its current system, with the PS4 is in the same vague ballpark.

Still, if Sony is going to arrive to the next-generation late, it's going to need to bring more than just comparative horsepower. We already know that it has the first-party studios available to build a staggering software catalogue – but all of this chatter about delays and reduced confidence is making us nervous. Let's hope that we start hearing some positive rumours soon.

[via kotaku.com]