Sony may have announced the PlayStation 4 a few months before Microsoft got around to revealing the Xbox One, but it was not until E3 2013 that fans actually got to see this Japanese firm’s next-gen console in the flesh.
While the PS3 started out as a bulky, curvaceous device and gradually slimmed down, the PS4 takes a more slender, angular approach from the start, which is definitely reminiscent of the towering obelisk that was the PS2.
Of course exterior design is just a tiny part of the console package and many will be gagging to find out about what tricks Sony has built in under the exoskeleton. Here is a thorough rundown of everything you can expect from the new PlayStation, which will of course be available as a free gift with mobile phone contract deals from 29th November.
In a direct comparison of the PS4 vs Xbox One it is fairly difficult to separate them because they are using components which look very similar, at least on paper.
Both consoles feature off the shelf PC components rather than relying on proprietary chips as has been the case with past console generations. Each will have an eight core CPU, 8GB of RAM and a graphics solution from AMD.
The PS4 and Xbox One will also come with 500GB of hard drive space as standard, although you can expect this to alter as the generation progresses.
Of course how the consoles actually harness this power will be different, because while the PS4 has its 8GB of RAM allocated in a unified fashion, the Xbox One gives just 5GB of its total memory to games and uses the rest for managing other processes.
In real terms gamers will find that cross-platform titles like Call of Duty and FIFA will behave almost identically, since this has been true in the current generation in spite of the different hardware specs of the PS3 and Xbox 360.
New Sony Controller
The PS4′s controller was the only bit of physical kit to make an appearance back at the February launch event and it remains an important asset of the new console.
While it looks superficially similar to previous DualShock models, it has nice touches such as indented analogue sticks, concave shoulder triggers, a light bar for motion-based functionality and also a touch pad which is front and centre for tactile interactivity.
The Share button on the controller has been earning a lot of attention since it promises to deliver impressive social features which will allow gamers to share clips from their games instantly online with their friends or an audience of fans.
Game streaming has increased in popularity over the last few years, so it is good to see Sony embracing this in the console space. Hopefully this is something that the speedrunning community will also embrace.
PlayStation 4 Price
The PlayStation 4 price has been the subject of much debate, mostly because it is significantly lower than that of the Xbox One. In the UK it will be priced at £349, which outshines the £429 cost of Microsoft’s console.
The reason for this discrepancy comes down to the fact that every Xbox One comes with the Kinect camera peripheral in the box and requires this device to function, while the PS4′s own camera is not mandatory and will be sold separately.
Of course you will be able to secure a free PlayStation 4 if you sign up for a mobile phone contract, which could be a way of getting involved in the next generation of gaming without having to smash your piggy bank or raid your savings account.
PS4 Release date
Sony has not committed to a release date for the PS4 just yet, although it has said that the console will be on sale in the UK and Europe before the end of the year, so you can expect there to be a bit of a rush to adopt this Christmas.
Plenty of critics are already convinced that Sony has got this console generation wrapped up with the PS4, not only because it’s cheaper than the Xbox One but also because of the furore surrounding used games sales.
Sony confirmed that users will be able to share, swap and sell disc-based games for the PS4 as long as the publishers allow it, while Microsoft is being a little more restrictive and saying that you can effectively only pass on used games to friends.
This is a muddy issue and it all comes down to software rather than hardware, so the PS4 might not have the upper hand indefinitely. However, it is good to see Sony back in the fray and putting gamers first. Would you choose a PS4 as a free gift with your next mobile phone contract?