The PlayStation 4 (officially abbreviated as PS4) is an eighth-generation home video game console developed by Sony Computer Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 in February 2013, it was launched on November 15 in North America, November 29 in Europe, South America and Australia, and on February 22, 2014 in Japan. It competes with Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U and Switch.
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 can theoretically peak at 1.84 teraflops; AMD stated that it was the “most powerful” APU it 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 other supported 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. The console also supports HDR10 High-dynamic-range video and playback of 4K resolution multimedia.
The PlayStation 4 was released to critical acclaim, with critics praising Sony for acknowledging its consumers’ needs, embracing independent game development, and for not imposing the restrictive digital rights management schemes like those originally announced by Microsoft for the Xbox One. Critics and third-party studios, before its launch, 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 “significant” and “obvious”. Heightened demand also helped Sony top global console sales. By the October 2019, PS4 became the second best-selling home game console of all time, behind PlayStation 2.
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On September 7, 2016, Sony unveiled the PlayStation 4 Slim, a smaller version of the console; and a high-end version called the PlayStation 4 Pro, which features an upgraded GPU and a higher CPU clock rate to support enhanced performance and 4K resolution in supported games.