Yesterday, Sony launched the latest salvo in its ongoing rivalry with Microsoft with the launch of the PlayStation 4, the first of a new generation of consoles. At an event held in the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York’s Manhattan Center, Sony revealed that the PlayStation 4 would go on sale this Christmas. It refused to set a price, or even show the console itself but it is unlikely to cost much less than £300.
With under-the bonnet power considerably in excess of that of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it will usher in a new breed of games with startlingly life like graphics, set in virtual worlds that operate in a much more believable manner than the current crop. But it will not have that ground to itself: Microsoft is applying the finishing touches to a successor for its Xbox 360 which, it is believed, it will unveil at the E3 Show in Los Angeles in June. That, too, is likely to go on sale this Christmas, unleashing a titanic battle for living room supremacy between Sony and Microsoft.
Several aspects of the PS4’s design caught the eye. Sony has redesigned the controller, which remained more or less unchanged through the PlayStation 2/3 era, giving it a curvier shape, a touchpad and a blue reflector strip that interactswith a PlayStation Eye camera (included in the price) to form a motion-sensing system. It will connect with smartphones – Sony makes a range of Android phones – enabling phone usersto chat with PS4 gamers and to control their PS4s remotely.