The PS2 did very well for several years after the PS3 arrived. And Sony expects history to repeat itself.
During a post-PS4 announcement interview published over at the PlayStation Blog , Sony Computer Entertainment Europe President and CEO Jim Ryan spoke about the PS3's role after the company's new console hits store shelves. They figure that history is on their side:
"Typically history can help us only so far here. We’re actually still selling PS2s in regions such as the Middle East seven years after we introduced PS3. There are a number of reasons why the transition might be a bit more accelerated this time round, but PS3 is a very important part of our portfolio, certainly in 2013, 2014 and probably beyond that.
I’d point to the software line-up on PS3 that we have coming up – God of War: Ascension next month, The Last of Us, which is looking great, and Beyond later in the year. And there’s other stuff yet to be announced which is highly significant too. There’s a lot coming on PS3 and it’s going to be very important to us for some time yet."
It's true that a number of great titles can still arrive for the PS3 long after the PS4 is out, and gamers shouldn't forget that. I'm not saying this to dissuade day-one adopters of Sony's new system, but it's important to understand that the PS3 will continue to be supported for quite some time after the next-gen technology launches.