Sony has announced its next-generation gaming console – the PlayStation 4.Its new hardware is designed to offer superior graphics as well as new social features including the sharing of recorded gameplay clips.
It will succeed the PlayStation 3, which went on sale in 2006 and has sold about 75 million units.
Sony also confirmed a range of big-name software for the machine including Bungie’s upcoming “shared-world shooter” Destiny, which will include exclusive content for the PS4.
The developer’s previous title, Halo, helped drive sales for the rival Xbox platform.
A successful launch might spur on sales of Sony’s new televisions and other consumer electronics, helping turn around its fortunes.
Sony posted a £3.2 billion loss in its last financial year, marking the fourth year it ended in deficit.
But the firm has forecast a profit for the current financial year ending in March.
Sony said the console was “coming holiday 2013” suggesting it will go on sale in at least some countries in or around December.
Sony described the machine as being like a “supercharged” PC.
It runs off an x86-based CPU (central processing unit) – similar architecture to that found in most desktop computers – and an “enhanced” PC GPU (graphics processing unit). Both CPU and GPU are designed by the US firm Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
It comes with the new DualShock 4 controller, which includes a touchpad, a “share button” and a lightbar, which allows a separate camera to track its movement.
Another new feature is that gamers can let one of their friends connect to their machine and take control of their character to help if they have got stuck, or allow several friends to watch their live progress as spectators.
While the graphics shown during the demonstrations were more advanced that those in current games for Nintendo’s Wii U, Sony must also convince gamers to choose its platform over PC-based systems.
Sony did not announce how much it plans to charge – perhaps holding the news back for the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles in June or a later announcement.
Quantic Dream demo Developers say they can create more realistic looking in-game characters, making it easier to convey emotions
The PlayStation 3 was initially sold at a loss, so if that practice is repeated with the new model its launch may initially put fresh strain on the firm’s finances.