Sony has announced the launch dates for its PlayStation 4 console: the next-generation games machine will become available in North America on November 15 and Europe on November 29.
Its rival Microsoft has only said that the Xbox One will go on sale some time the same month.
Experts suggested that the latest revelation might help gain the Japanese firm headlines, but that it would be software that ultimately decided which company came out on top.
“Sony has made fantastic progress as it prepares to release the PS4, but the console still lacks a show-stopping exclusive game,” said Rob Crossley, associate editor at the Computer and Video Games news site, following the announcement at the Gamescom trade fair in Cologne.
“That will certainly come eventually, but some might argue the most crucial time is now.
“Sony’s press conference once again demonstrated the company has an enviably deep and meaningful relationship with the indie developer community… but Sony executives will no doubt be feeling uneasy as the list of major Xbox One exclusive games continues to grow.”
Lewis Ward, a games expert at the consultants IDC, agreed that at this point the launch date was of limited importance.
“If it turns out that the PS4 goes on sale a week before the Xbox One, for example, then clearly Sony will have time to itself to make some hay,” he said.
“But until we know when Microsoft is going to land I’m not sure what putting the date out there does much beyond making a news story – it won’t change people’s buying intentions.”
Sony said there had already been more than one million pre-orders of its new console worldwide. It added that a total of 32 countries would be able to buy the PS4 during the Christmas holiday season.
Previously unannounced PS4 titles unveiled in Germany included:
- Shadow of the Beast – a reboot of the 1980s Commodore Amiga title – as a Sony exclusive
- Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, a post-apocalyptic game from the UK-based developers of cult title Dear Esther
- Minecraft, the landscape-building title which has already been a hit on the Xbox 360 and PCs
Sony also announced a price cut to its handheld console, the PlayStation Vita.
It said the “Wi-Fi only” version of the device would now cost $199 excluding tax – a $50 reduction. It also promised cheaper memory cards.
Similar cuts are being made in Europe after the machine’s price was reduced earlier in the year in Japan.
“The handheld business has not been performing well, but I think a $50 cut will push up Vita sales significantly,” said Lewis Ward.
“But the real driver over the long term will be must-have games and the choice is still thinner than some consumers would want.”