One year on, Sony’s PlayStation 4 is first in the next-gen console fight

PC gaming may well be pulling a few folks back, but next-generation gaming is in full swing, and one year on from its release, Sony has a few things to say regarding the fourth incarnation, especially on what’s coming up.

“A year on, wow,” said Michael Ephraim, Managing Director at Sony Computer Entertainment, adding that “it has been an incredible year and we’re truly blown away. We have been truly humbled by the response of the PlayStation 4 by Australian gamers.”

Ephraim has good reason to be, too. According to information released by Sony this week, the PlayStation 4 has sold 13.5 million units internationally, and isn’t just the number one next-gen gaming console available in Australia, but is also the fastest selling home video games console in the history of Australian gaming. It doesn’t have a lot of competition, that said, competing with Microsoft’s Xbox One and a little bit of Nintendo’s Wii U, though we’re not sure the latter is technically considered “next-gen” as far as the phrase goes.

We're hyped for LittleBigPlanet 3. Games that encourage you to use your imagination rock!

That said, Sony isn’t done, and while next year has some big games coming — we’re all itching to play “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End” here at GadgetGuy next year, and there’s another LittleBigPlanet game coming in a few weeks that will let us get to play with Sackboy again — the end of this year is more about getting that game play across to as many people as possible, and letting the console do more, with PlayStation TV being introduced and some new features in the version 2.0 of the PlayStation operating system.

It’s not exactly like the system we reviewed last year, and some things have changed, such as the ability to let friends who don’t own the same game partake, as well as streaming a PlayStation 4 to an Xperia Z3 class phone or tablet.

SingStar has also improved, and in its latest release, Sony has done away with the microphone accessories and moved to Android and iOS phones with an app, and since so many people have one, karaoke can now come to anyone with one of the more common smartphones out there.

Modern SingStar ditches the microphone accessories and asks you to use your phone. A part of this journalist wants to point out that it looks like the people in the picture are singing into the top of the phone, which isn't traditionally where the microphone will be placed.

Channel Seven will be adding its catch-up service to the PS4 soon, too, launching later this year as a Plus7 app, and the PlayStation TV will also be coming soon.

“What’s a PlayStation TV?” we hear you ask.

Well, it’s not like an Apple TV, and yet it also is, taking the guts of the PS Vita and essentially throwing it into a small brick to play PS1 and PS Vita games, as well as letting you browse your media, and even making it possible to stream a PlayStation 4 — if you own one — to another television in the home.

Representatives for Sony that we spoke to basically called this a “micro console,” and from the size, that’s about an accurate assessment, and is smaller than some phones that come through here.

Sony’s DualShock 4 controllers are supported here, and movies and TV shows acquired or rented from the Sony Entertainment Network work, too.

The Sony PlayStation TV will retail for $149.95 when it hits stores on November 14, and will work without the PlayStation 4 (which is extra), but can work with it if you want to stream the console.

The back of the PlayStation TV features a memory card slot, USB port, HDMI port, Ethernet port, and power plug port.

Beyond this, there are more games coming, as well as Sony’s PlayStation Now, a concept that will see games stream to consoles, with rental periods for video games, making it possible to just start playing without that long installation sequence.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 is available now for a recommended retail price of $549.95.

The PlayStation 4 is available in black and white (above).