Updated November 15 at 4pm
Sony PlayStation 4 game console
U.S. release date: November 15, 2013 | Retail price: $399.99
Sony's replacement for the seven-year-old PlayStation 3 game console—it launched in November of 2006—arrives a week before (and $100 cheaper than) its next-gen competition, Microsoft's Xbox One. Though the PS4 is not backwards compatible with your PS3 game library, it boasts improved graphics and speed, a streamlined interface, and new sharing tools. A major highlight is the new DualShock 4 controller, which incorporates a touchpad, speaker, and other welcome design tweaks.
Optional accessories include a PlayStation camera (similar to the Xbox Kinect, including the ability to use voice controls), which runs an extra $60, and a PlayStation Vita, which can be used for remote play of your PS4 games. And multiplayer functionality now requires the purchase of a PlayStation Plus subscription, which retails for $50/year.
Key launch titles for the PS4 include:
How good is the new hardware? Below are quotes from many of the reviews for the console itself that have been published so far; we'll update this page later in the week as more reviews are added (note that many reviews have been delayed because Sony didn't activate numerous features until just before the review embargo expired). If a publication provided a score or grade for the console, it is listed (and converted to our 0-100 scale). For reviews of individual games available for the PS4, visit Metacritic's new PlayStation 4 section.
New: Fourth batch of reviews (added afternoon of Friday 11/15)
The Daily Beast Alec Kubas-Meyer
Despite its flaws and less than stellar launch lineup, it is worth the asking price. The PlayStation 4 is Sony's best video game console, and it is a fine piece of hardware.
Joystiq Richard Mitchell
The PlayStation 4 isn't without its troubling aspects. Hard drive space looks like it will be eaten up very quickly. The UI may become cumbersome to navigate as more games are added to your home screen. Some players may grouse at the necessity of linking to Facebook and Twitter accounts to take advantage of the console's most interesting features. Even taking these complaints into account, the PS4 accomplishes its goals with remarkable aplomb. The PlayStation 4 is a well-designed console that packs a lot of features into a single package while still keeping games front-and-center.
Los Angeles Times Todd Martens
Ultimately, early adapters will be pleased. To many of the video gaming faithful, the easy recording and sharing capabilities of the PS4 will be everything, as the idea of a video game as a spectator sport is more common than many realize.
Variety Marc Graser
The PlayStation 4 ... couldn't be more Sony in its overall design. It's sleek in a very conservative way, modern but cold, and completely obsessed with its high-tech abilities but awkward in the way it presents it all. If the Xbox One is the kid who likes to command attention to brag how cool he is, the PS4 is the smart one who is uncomfortable in the spotlight.
Third batch of reviews (added morning of Friday 11/15)
Ars Technica Kyle Orland
The PlayStation 4 has an excellent controller, decently powerful hardware, some intriguing, well-executed new features, and an interface that shows belated acknowledgement of some of Sony's most user-unfriendly past designs. It also has a lot of features that are half-assed, missing, or downright bewildering at this point. Still, overall, it's a good starting point for a system that's meant to last a long time.
Consumer Reports Matt Ferretti
Should you buy a PlayStation 4? If you play only casually, you won't get a lot of entertainment options with the PS4 that aren't available on the PS3 and other cheaper devices. ... If you're a serious gamer and a fan of the PS4's exclusive games, though, then the answer is a resounding yes. The killer app for the PS4 might be Remote Play, so if you own a PlayStation Vita or are planning to get one for the holidays, that's also a good reason to jump on the PS4.
91 Entertainment Weekly Matt Cabral
It's made a damn fine first impression and a strong case for its future potential; from significant additions, such as the "share" button, to subtler inclusions, like the ability to recharge controllers while the system is in standby mode, the PS4 is packed with gaming-focused features and brimming with future-looking, community-driven possibilities.
Mashable Chelsea Stark Updated review
Some functions, like sharing, work perfectly, but other entertainment features and web browsing were clunky at best. While the company's messaging may be all about the games, the PS4 still has a weak launch lineup and not many extra features to gloss over that. Many of these complaints can be fixed with firmware updates, and the console's evolution is far from finished. It's just hard to ask early adopters to get excited when some pieces are half-baked, even at a lower price point of $399.
80 PC Mag Will Greenwald
The Sony PlayStation 4 feels like a beefed-up PlayStation 3, and that's just fine. It has several new and useful features like sharing gameplay footage and handling multiple users at once, and the DualShock 4 is a fantastic upgrade over the DualShock 3 and Sixaxis controllers. It isn't quite as ambitious in the media department as the Xbox One, but it also isn't quite as expensive, even if you buy the optional camera. It's a game system at heart, and a very good one at that.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Max Parker
It's currently a powerful gaming device with an obvious lack of games. Of course, this will change over the next year, but the sparse library is an obvious hole for a console that is supposed to play video games. Owners have various multimedia apps and cross-platform titles to enjoy. That will be enough for some, but PS4 is still waiting for its killer app.
77 The Verge Updated review
Right now... there's little incentive to spend $399 on a PlayStation 4. Not only are there few games worth the price of admission, the vast library of PS3 games is more compelling than anything the PS4 currently offers. If you're desperate for a new console, rest assured that eventually the PS4 will be one; it has plenty of power, a great controller, and a lot of good ideas about how we can play games better and how we can play them together. But for right now, they're mostly still just ideas.
Washington Post Hayley Tsukayama
Right now, the PlayStation 4 is a powerful console, but one that needs more content to realize its full potential.
Second batch of reviews (added Thu 11/14)
75 CNET Jeff Bakalar
The PlayStation 4 is a worthy successor to the PlayStation 3, but like most launch consoles, there's a ton of promise for the future and not a whole lot to write home about out of the gate. ... It might be smart to hold off on a purchase. ... Odds are you won't be missing out on a lot of new gaming experiences if you already own a current generation console.
Engadget Ben Gilbert Updated review
For $400, you're getting a speedy, powerful little PC with an extremely friendly user interface -- and it doesn't look like a PC, which is a nice bonus. We may not review game consoles every day, but we know a good one when we see it.
80 Game Revolution Anthony Severino
As nice as the PS4 may look or how well the UI may function, a console is only as good as its games. And at launch the line-up is looking slim. ... That's not to say you wouldn't be happy with the PS4 now if you have one pre-ordered—as a gamer, you'll love it.
New York Daily News Ebenezer Samuel
At first glance, Sony's small, black box delivers stunning visuals, and when raindrops pitter-patter onto one's HDTV screen when playing "Killzone: Shadow Fall," the surface might as well be a window. But while PS4's graphics chops are to be expected, it is the system's gamer-centric features that will set it apart.
The Penny Arcade Report Ben Kuchera
Make no mistake, everything I've seen and everyone I've spoken to makes it clear that the PlayStation 4 has more brute strength than the Xbox One. Your choice will be easy if you're interested purely in graphics. ... Still, you can see the rough edges and missed opportunities in the firmware.
100 Stuff Tom Parsons
Without a final Xbox One sample it's impossible to know whether the PS4 is the runaway winner of the next-gen console battle as many are proclaiming. But what we do know now is that it's an absolutely cracking console. Delivering on the next-gen promise of 1080p gaming and digital distribution are the core things, but that's backed up by a super-slick UI that feels 'live' and interactive, and delivers the content you want with a degree of snappiness that the previous generation couldn't get close to.
Yahoo! Games Chris Morris
Ultimately, it's a system that feels almost - but not entirely – finished. There's no one major flaw to point to, but a number of small ones start to add up. Fortunately, they're all fixable – and Sony is well aware of them. Even better, the game lineup for the foreseeable future is a solid one.
First batch of reviews (added Wed 11/13)
CVG Jonathan Cooper
The PlayStation 4 is a long-overdue leap forward for Sony, but it doesn't take any risks. Sharing features might change how players approach playing and watching games, but it doesn't change the central experience. The controller will make playing them more comfortable, but it too is merely an advancement on an a controller blueprint that was etched in the mid-nineties. ... There's a good chance that the software platform will allow for greater innovations in the future, such as more streaming options expected to be added later down the line, but for now, Sony is selling a futuristic machine with not many new things to do on it.
The Escapist Greg Tito
The hardware lives up to its billing in delivering beautiful, immersive worlds.
Eurogamer/Digital Foundry Richard Leadbetter
PlayStation 4 may well be based on PC hardware, then, but based on these first impressions, it feels like much more of a console - a pure gaming thoroughbred - than its predecessor.
Fortune JP Mangalindan
Think of the PlayStation 4 as a device with great potential, just one that developers haven't tapped into much yet.
GamesRadar Lucas Sullivan
Sony has vaulted us into the next generation with style, delivering a powerful system that's sleek, speedy, and most importantly, user friendly. Even if you don't plan on picking up many PS4 games at launch, the system feels like an affordable and worthwhile investment that will do right by early adopters.
Gizmodo Eric Limer
It goes without saying—but I'll say it anyway—that the graphics and performance on this sucker are badass. ... The new controller is a real joy. ... The PS4 is definitely a great gaming machine in the tradition of the PS3 before it, but its new functionality comes off as a little half-baked. ... The good news is, almost all of the PS4's issues right now could be solved with creative developers and/or a software update, but for now the PS4 is very much a better PS3.
The Globe and Mail Peter Nowak
All told, the PS4 packs an impressive amount of technology into its controller. It's a huge step up from its predecessor that will not only make Sony's console a more credible competitor for shooters, it also opens up enticing new possibilities for developers.
Kotaku Stephen Totilo
The PS4 seems like it'll be a hell of a console, but it's mostly potential and a bunch of new tools in need of some awesome games for them to work on. I think you'll want one eventually. But, cool as the PS4 is, a lack of a must-play game means you can afford to wait.
NBC News Yannick LeJacq
If you're still on the fence about whether to choose the Xbox One or the PS4 (or to buy a next-gen system at all), it would be better to hold off for further improvements — a drop in price, firmware updates, and more games that really take advantage of everything the system has to offer. ... Unfortunately gamers will find the PS4 lacking for the simple fact that there's really not much to do with it yet.
PlayStationLifeStyle Anthony Severino
With the PS4, not only do games look, perform, and play so much better than on its predecessor due to the new processor and 8GB of RAM, but thanks to the easy-to-use design of the UI, interacting with the PlayStation Network services and features, or with friends socially is simple and seamless—exactly how it should be.
The PlayStation 4's focus on gaming — and only gaming — is undermined by a distinct lack of compelling software. That failing is sure to improve — better games and more of them will appear on the PlayStation 4 — but right now, this is a game console without a game to recommend it.
Popular Science Colin Lecher
This doesn't feel like a step forward; it feels like a step sideways. A nearly identical interface, a slew of sequels, and a design that's not all there. (I was more fond of the Wii U, which turned out to be a complete commercial disaster, because it at least felt like something different.)
Rolling Stone Evan Shamoon
It's a sleek, smart piece of hardware, full of next-generation components and features. It also represents a return to form for Sony – a system developed to play games, and to play them damn well. ... Musically, however, the console seems a bit challenged.
Shacknews Andrew Yoon
Crucially, PS4 is a powerful system with a terrific controller. For gamers, that's all that matters. ... However, it's clear that many other features need to be improved upon. Voice recognition is an afterthought, and sharing needs to be fleshed out much more. And while PS4 may be designed for gamers, Sony cannot forget that PlayStation is also an "all-in-one" entertainment destination for most. In terms of media capabilities, PS4 is a huge step backwards from PS3. Given the $400 entry fee, gamers should expect--nay, demand--better out of their next-gen console.
Time Matt Peckham
There's no one standout feature to talk about this time, no genre-bending gizmo or water-cooler-worthy service to trumpet, and you won't find an interface-reimagining Wii Remote in the box or a design-upending Super Mario 64 ushering in a new platforming epoch, but then that's not what this next generation is about. Instead, you're looking at a meticulously alloyed platform that's the sum of many pieces, a kind of Grand Theft Auto V of video game consoles. If the latter represents everything Rockstar's learned about open-world design — an accumulation of design knowledge implemented with knowing, fastidious precision — the PlayStation 4 is everything Sony's learned about platform design, honed and polished to something just shy of perfection.
Tom's Guide Sherri L. Smith
Navigating through the new interface was certainly more agile experience than on the PS3. Game loads are much faster on the PS4, too ... Graphically though, many of the launch titles look like they were made for PS3. ... Overall, the PlayStation 4 is the console of choice for those looking for a gamer-centric experience.
Toronto Star Raju Mudhar
There are many things to like, although one complaint is that the next gen still feels a whole lot like the last one. Sure, some of the games look a little better, but on the whole, video games look pretty awesome in the current generation already. ... It is the small improvements that are likely the best thing about the PS4, and the things that hardcore gamers will notice.
88 USA Today Brett Molina
The PlayStation 4 ... represents an impressive package for video game players, with significant improvements to the controller and menus, and fresh features such as game sharing.
Does it have some problems? Yes. The system seems completely reliant on internet for the full experience, so those on the edge of coverage will be hobbling along. Moving in and out of standby takes longer than I'd expect for a $400 piece of hardware. But the games we've played are impressive and do their best to represent a clear vision for the "next generation."
CNET has a side-by-side comparison of the entertainment apps available for both the PS4 and the competing Xbox One. And, speaking of the Xbox One, we'll have reviews for Microsoft's new console next week.