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Sony Teaser Clip Fuels PlayStation 4 Rumours

A Sony 'teaser' video has fuelled speculation that the company is set to release details of the PlayStation 4.

Released on YouTube, the 45-second clip features an animation of the console's controller symbols and ends with the date 'Feb 20th 2013'

The video is promoting the company's first major PlayStation news conference in two years, the last was to unveil its Vita hand-held console.

Before that, in 2005, a similar event showed off the current PlayStation 3.

Despite the internet rumours, Sony is staying silent about the event, with a spokesman refusing to comment on the specifics of the announcement.

Microsoft is also strongly tipped to be on the verge of announcing details of the follow-up to its Xbox 360 console.

Larry Hryb, Xbox’s director of programming, recently posted a countdown clock to June's E3 games show on his blog.

The PlayStation event is being seen by some as an attempt by Sony to steal a march on its fierce competitor and get its product in the shops first.

Lucy James, from gaming site Ginx.tv, told Sky News: "Last time, Xbox was ahead of PlayStation by about a year, so it could be that Sony doesn't want that to happen again."

Microsoft's Xbox 360 first came out in November 2005, while Sony's machine hit shelves in November 2006.

James says she will be "shocked" if Sony's event is not about the new PlayStation.

The gaming writer and presenter also believes the firm will probably show off the design of the console, which she says is certain to have vastly improved processing power.

"What better way to excite gamers than to reveal the look of the console... It's all about the graphics - they'll be more on par with the power of PCs."

Despite Sony's attempt to whip up publicity, there is also concern that traditional console gaming could be under threat from cheaper mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets.

Nintendo this week revised down its sales forecasts, while console sales in the UK were down by a third last year.

However, Lucy James says she still believes a "massive market" exists for more powerful home consoles which offer a more immersive and visually-impressive gaming experience.