The rumour mill has been grinding away for so long about what to expect from the PlayStation 4, it feels like we’ve been waiting an eternity for this launch.
But finally Sony has officially unveiled (well, sort of) its new console at an event in New York.
The PlayStation 3 was introduced in 2007 and has since sold 77m units worldwide, but Sony now feels the time is right to move on with its next generation console.
So, what can we expect from the PlayStation 4? Well, so far Sony has revealed that the new gadget will be powered by an X86 CPU and an enhanced PC graphics processor with 8GB of memory.
There’s still lots we don’t know though, despite the two-hour launch event. The new gadget was never actually displayed and nor did Sony announce a launch date or a price.
Instead, the Japanese firm showed off the console’s impressive capabilities, which include beefed-up graphics, a new controller, and a greater emphasis on social media and cloud computing.
The controller has been given a much curvier, more ergonomic shape and there’s a touchpad and reflector strip which interacts with a PlayStation Eye camera, which will form a motion-sensing system, Sony’s answer to the Xbox Kinect. Users will be able to connect their console to their smartphones, chatting with other PlayStation 4 gamers and controlling their consoles remotely.
Sony is very much aiming its new console at the serious gamer, believing, perhaps rightly, that those who only dip their toes into gaming occasionally will do so from their tablets or mobiles.
Demonstrating the new platform’s graphical capabilities, Mark Cerny, lead system architect on the new console, described is as an “exponential improvement on its predecessors.”
The console has already won fans among critics. Tom Hoggins, writing for the Telegraph, said: “When Sony got down to the nitty gritty of their new machine… a picture emerged of a confident, elegant console well-equipped to deal with the demands of a connected audience.”
And the console has also met with an enthusiastic response from third-party publishers. Developer Bungie has said it will bring its first-person shoot-em-up Destiny to PlayStation 4 and Blizzard, which, up until now has only developed for the PC, will bring a version of Diablo III to the console.
Further details, along with the all important launch date and cost are expected to be revealed at the E3 Show in June, the Electronic Entertainment Expo which takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Sony is, however, clearly not without rivals. Nintendo has already released the Wii U with its Gamepad controller, allowing gamers to play on the move through what is essentially a powerful tablet. And the successor to the Xbox 360 is expected anytime now, with analysts predicting an improved Kinect motion sensor for hands-free gaming.
The Playstation 4 is likely to go on sale this Christmas, with pricing estimated to be somewhere in the region of £300. It looks like this festive season could be one of the most exciting yet in terms of rivalry between console makers. It will be interesting to see which one appears most on lists to Santa Claus.