For the second time this month, a top level Sony executive has offered clues as to when Sony might announce the PlayStation 4 release date, though it still remains unclear exactly when the company might reveal their next console.

During a recent conversation with The Times, Sony CEO Kaz Hirai claimed that the PlayStation creators might delay announcing the PlayStation 4 release date until after Microsoft has already unveiled the Xbox 720. Barring a surprise Q1 2013 unveiling of the Xbox 720, the comments also conflict with Sony Home Entertainment executive Hiroshi Sakamoto's previous claim that Sony would reveal the PlayStation 4 release date by early summer 2013.

"Why go first when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better," asked Hirai, in response to a Times inquiry about Sony's potential plans to announce the PlayStation 4 release date. Microsoft has yet to confirm when they will publicly unveil the Xbox 720; however, it is widely believed that the company wouldn't late any later than the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3).

According to CVG, while Hirai might be content to wait for the official Xbox 720 announcement before Sony reveals the PlayStation 4 release date, other sources in the company's console division called such plans "ridiculous." Prior rumors had also suggested a more higher sense of urgency from Sony executives, and much of the speculation which pre-dates Hirai's comments suggested that both Microsoft and Sony are rushing to be first to market with their next generation consoles.

It's also generally believed that Sony executives considered E3 2013 to be the latest possible date for the company to make a PlayStation 4 announcement. On the more controversial side, a recently discovered patent application has also re-ignited fears that Sony will attempt to block the playing of used games with the release of the Playstation 4. There have also been rumors that Sony will drop the DualShock controller during this console cycle, thanks to the costs associated with the controller's rumble tech licensing deal, though it is believed the PlayStation 4 will continue to support older controllers.

Be sure to check back with for all of the latest news and rumors regarding the PlayStation 4 release date, public unveiling, and more.