Analysts everywhere wanted to have their opinion heard before the launches of the PS3 and Wii, and now that both are on the market, they've already started to issue another set of predictions.

Yesterday, after Sony Computer Entertainment shuffled its high-ranking executives , things are even more open to discussion. Sony's statement regarding the issue said it was a "strengthening" of the executive team, but many analysts aren't buying it. They believe replacing Ken Kutaragi is a no-confidence vote for his leadership of the PS3; Blu-Ray manufacturing problems plagued the console, leading to huge shortages in all regions and a European launch delay until 2007.

A few analysts, though, are even more concerned with Kaz Hirai's succession to the throne. Nomura Securities' Yuta Sakurai made a shocking prediction today, stating that the PS3 would be the last Sony console.

"The appointment of Hirai could be the start of a shift from hardware to software," said Sakurai. "I cannot now imagine a PlayStation 4."

According to the Financial Times, Sakurai believes that "Hirai’s new global portfolio puts a predominantly software-focused manager in charge of the company." Apparently, he's pegging Sony to become another Sega in the transformation from console-creator to simply a third-party game developer and/or publisher.

However, most were surprised to hear Sakurai's contention, and critics were quick to leap to the forefront. After all, Sony remains a primary electronics manufacturer, and has dumped billions into the research, development, and advertisement of the PS3. Despite this one analyst's comments, SCEA publicity chief Dave Karraker issued this retort:

"Following the launch of the PlayStation 3 just a few weeks ago, and witnessing the huge consumer demand for the product, I think it would be rather short-sighted for anyone to predict there might not be a next generation of PlayStation product," he told GameSpot .

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