PlayStation 4 announced!

Sony has announced its next-generation gaming console, the PlayStation 4 at a lavish event in New York today.

Sony PlayStation 4

Sony PlayStation 4

This console will succeed the PlayStation 3, a massively popular console which went on sale in 2006 and to date, has sold around 75 million units worldwide.

The new hardware in the PlayStation 4 is designed for superior graphics as well as new social features which include the sharing of recorded game-play clips among users.

The PlayStation 4 will eventually be competing against Microsoft’s Xbox 360 successor and the newly released Nintendo Wii U.

In its last financial year, Sony posted a 456.7 billion yen loss ($4.9 billion; £3.2 billion) , which marked the fourth year that the company has ended in a deficit. However, the successful launch of the new generation console may help to drive sales of Sony’s televisions and other gadgets which may help to turn around the ailing company fortunes.

Despite the losses, Sony has forecast a ¥20 billion profit for the current financial year.

Sony has described the PlayStation 4 as being like a supercharged PC. The console will run off a x86-based CPU – this is similar to architecture that is found in most desktop computers – and an “enhanced” PC GPU.

The console also comes with the new DualShock 4 controller, which includes a touch-pad  “share button” and a light bar, which will allow separate cameras to track movement

“This is a complete controller upgrade with touch, share and better responsiveness,” said Brian Blau, an analyst at the tech consultancy Gartner.

“The new controller is the key to a better PS4 experience. It has the ability to share content easily, and brings in a component of touch that allows even more ways to interact with games.”

The console also includes new hardware which is dedicated to video compression to allow the console to be a more social device for users. With this, users will be able to pause a game and select a few minutes of recorded video of their most recent activity and upload the clip to a social network such as Facebook.

This action will then occur in the background which will allow users to finish their game whilst their clip is being uploaded. Sony said it wanted to make sharing video clips as common as it is today to share screenshots with one another.

Another new feature is that gamers can allow one of their friends to connect to their machine and take control of their character to help if they are stuck. This can also be used to allow several friends to watch their progress as live spectators. This facility uses technology acquired from Gaikai – a cloud-based service Sony acquired last year.