PlayStation 4 revealed!

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At a lavish event in New York, SONY has finally fired the starting pistol on the next lap of its race with Microsoft to dominate the space under your telly. The new console is simply called PlayStation 4

Release Date: 21/02/2013

At a lavish event in New York, SONY has finally fired the starting pistol on the next lap of its race with Microsoft to dominate the space under your telly. The new console is simply called PlayStation 4, but will bring a host of innovative new ideas to the table.

Details of what lurks within the hardware are still to be fully revealed, as SONY has perhaps wisely concentrated on what the console will do for gamers, rather than bombarding us with figures that only make sense to engineers. However, it will be beefier than the PlayStation 3 in every respect, with much faster processors - 1.84 Teraflops of raw power, should that mean anything to you - and the flexibility to allow developers to decide how and where that power is used, rather than setting big chunks of it aside just for graphics.

Its in functionality that the PS4 is most impressive. A very social machine, there's a "share" button on the new Dual Shock 4 controller that will let you pick clips from the last three minutes of gameplay, regardless of what you're playing, and post them to the social network of your choice. Using the Gaikai cloud system, you'll also be able to pipe live gameplay to friends directly, and also check out what they're doing.

Gaikai will also shake up the PlayStation Store, enabling you to instantly launch a playable demo of any game you're interested in. Thanks to some sort of science voodoo, you'll even be able to start playing downloadable games before they've finished downloading. The bad news is that the PlayStation 4 will not be backwards compatible with PlayStation 3 discs, but SONY has confirmed that it's hoping to use Gaikai's streaming capabilities to allow previous PlayStation titles to be playable on the new console.

SONY also cleared up rumours that the PlayStation 4 will block users from playing second hand games. Quizzed by Eurogamer after the launch event, SONY Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida said quite simply: "Used games can play on PS4."

There will also be a new dual-camera PlayStation Eye in the box, along with a headset, which will offer face recognition, as well as motion and voice control. There will also be a free PlayStation app for various mobiles and tablets, allowing second screen control much like Microsoft's SmartGlass.

Finally, good news for PS Vita owners - Remote Play remains a central pillar of the PlayStation strategy, and the aim is for every PlayStation 4 game to be instantly playable on the PS Vita as well.

So that's the PlayStation 4 and the next gen battle has begun. No fixed release date or price has been mentioned, but SONY ended its presentation with the promise "Holiday 2013" which is American for "this winter".

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