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PS4: the highs and lows of Sony's next-gen launch

on 11 December 2013

Sony kicked off the next-generation format war with the launch of the PlayStation 4 in the U.S. on November 15 and in Europe on November 29. By all accounts the release of the high-spec machine was a resounding successor, shifting over one million units in just 24 hours, and 250,000 units in the U.K. alone. Global sales now stand at over 2.1 million.

Still, as with any hardware launch there are invariably a number of hiccups and teething problems to tackle, and Sony’s latest addition to its PlayStation family is no different. Yes, things went tits up on occasion, but at the same time it is abundantly clear that the hardware manufacturer has been sagacious in its planning and thus avoided many of the pitfalls of its chunky predecessor.

With the launch dust clearing, PSU.com decided to take a look back at the PS4’s release and scrutinize the highs and lows of Sony’s launch effort.

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The Highs

Supply & Demand

One aspect that has plagued past Sony hardware launches is providing sufficient stock for consumers on day-one. PS2 was hit by some massive shortages upon its release in 2000, and while things improved with PS3, it was still lacking enough for Sony to ensure the same issue didn’t befall its latest box of tricks. True to word, PS4 was in plentiful supply for release, with pre-orders issued months in advance and all major retailers offering a variety of hardware bundles in addition to the standalone console. Not only that, but even if you didn’t pre-order a console, the corporation was still offering the chance to snap a PS4 up on launch day - at least in the U.K. - at Asda or Sony’s own launch event at Covent Garden in London. Think about to the PS2 days -- what chance did you have picking one off the shelves on day-one in November 2000? Exactly.

Twitch integration from day-one

Twitch is rapidly becoming the latest Internet social media craze much like Twitter and before it, Facebook. Sony has fully embraced this with its latest games console, with PS4 offering seamless Twitch functionality straight out of the box. As seen on PSU.com, users have been busy streaming content from their shiny new PS4s, offering gameplay hints, tricks and generally just showcasing the next-generation gaming goodness straight from the comfort of their own home. The great thing is just how smoothly Twitch ran on day-one, with PS4 users finding no problem in showcasing their gaming talents to their friends and the rest of the gaming community. Have you joined in the Twitch craze yet?

Sony taking back faulty PS4s free of charge

While PS4’s failure rate clocked in at under 1 per cent for launch, that still leaves a few unlucky punters having to experience niggles with their new console on launch day. Compared to the problems that plagued the Xbox 360 it’s a dream, and to make matters easier, Sony has kindly offered to accept faulty PS4s back free of charge.

Diverse line-up embracing indies, blockbusters and freebies

The software line-up has its own share of highs and lows but one cannot deny there was something for everyone on day-one. Aside from the blockbuster games such as Killzone: Shadow Fall, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag and Call of Duty: Ghosts, PS4 also embraced the indie scene to its fullest, offering a number of great titles to download, some of which were made free to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Resogun for example is one of the highest-rated PS4 release games, and is available free of charge. Hard to grumble really, isn't it?