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The PlayStation 4 (abbreviated to PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment, formerly Sony Computer Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 during a press conference on February 20, 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013 in North America, and November 29, 2013 in Europe, South America and Australia, and February 22, 2014 in Japan. It competes with Nintendo's Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox One, as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles. Moving away from the more complex Cell microarchitecture of its predecessor, the console features an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) built upon the x86-64 architecture, which has a theoretical peak performance of 1.84 teraflops; AMD stated that it was the "most powerful" APU they had developed to date. The PlayStation 4 places an increased emphasis on social interaction and integration with other devices and services, including the ability to play games off-console on PlayStation Vita and supported Sony Xperia mobile devices ("Remote Play"), the ability to stream gameplay online, or to friends with them controlling gameplay remotely ("Share Play"). The console's controller was also redesigned and improved over the PlayStation 3, with improved buttons and analog sticks, and an integrated touchpad among other changes. Reception to the PlayStation 4 prior to its launch was positive, with critics praising Sony for acknowledging its consumers' needs, embrace of independent game development, and for not imposing the same digital rights management schemes that Microsoft had previously announced for Xbox One prior to its release. Critics and third-party studios also praised the capabilities of the PlayStation 4 in comparison to its competitors; developers described the performance difference between the console and Xbox One as being "significant" and "obvious" Heightened demand for the PS4 helped Sony top global console sales. As of May 22, 2016, more than 40 million consoles have been sold worldwide.
According to lead architect Mark Cerny, development of Sony's fourth video game console began as early as 2008. Less than two years earlier, the PlayStation 3 had launched after months of delays due to issues with production. The delay placed Sony almost a year behind Microsoft's Xbox 360, which was already approaching unit sales of 10 million by the time the PS3 launched. PlayStation Europe CEO Jim Ryan said Sony wanted to avoid repeating the same mistake with PS3's successor. In designing the system, Sony worked with software developer Bungie, who offered their input on the controller and how to make it better for shooting games. In 2012, Sony began shipping development kits to game developers, consisting of a modified PC running the AMD Accelerated Processing Unit chipset. These development kits were known as "Orbis". In early 2013, Sony announced that an event known as PlayStation Meeting 2013 would be held in New York City, U.S., on February 20, 2013, to cover the "future of PlayStation". Sony officially announced the PlayStation 4 at the event. They revealed details about the console's hardware and discussed some of the new features it will introduce. Sony also showed off real-time footage of games in development, as well as some technical demonstrations. The design of the console was unveiled in June 2013 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, and the initial recommended retail prices of $399 (NA), €399 (Europe), and £349 (UK) given. The company revealed release dates for North America, Central America, South America, Europe and Australia, as well as final pieces of information, at a Gamescom press event in Cologne, Germany, on August 20, 2013. The console was released on November 15, 2013 in the United States and Canada, followed by further releases on November 29, 2013. By the end of 2013, the PS4 was launched in more European, Asian and South American countries The PS4 released in Japan at ¥39,980 on February 22, 2014. Sony finalized a deal with the Chinese government in May 2014 to sell its products in mainland China, and the PS4 will be the first product to be released. Kazuo Hirai, chief executive officer of Sony, said in May: "The Chinese market, just given the size of it, is obviously potentially a very large market for video game products ... I think that we will be able to replicate the kind of success we have had with PS4 in other parts of the world in China." In September 2015, Sony reduced the price of the PS4 in Japan to ¥34,980, with similar price drops in other Southeast Asian markets. The first official sub £300 PS4 bundle was the £299.99 'Uncharted Nathan Drake Collection 500GB', released in the UK on October 9, 2015; a 1TB £329.99 version was offered at the same time. On October 9, 2015, the first official price cut of the PS4 in North America was announced: a reduction of $50 to $349.99 (US) and by $20 to $429.99 (Canada). An official price cut in Europe followed in late October 2015, reduced to €349.99/£299.99. On June 10, 2016, Sony confirmed that a hardware revision of PlayStation 4, rumored to be codenamed "Neo", was under development. The new revision is a higher-end model that is meant to support gameplay in 4K. The new model will be sold alongside the existing model, and all existing software will be compatible between the two models. Layden stated that they have no plans to "bifuricate the market", only that gamers playing on the Neo will "have the same experience, but one will be delivered at a higher resolution, with an enhanced graphical experience, but everything else is going to be exactly as you’d expect".