Thanks to Sony's PS4 launch event in February, we know quite a bit about the PS4 console. We know that it will exist. We know that the PlayStation 4 will launch for Christmas 2013, superceding the existing PlayStation 3. See also: UK gamers disappointed with PS4 launch.
However, it was only until last night at E3 2013 that we finally found out what the console looked like, apart from the controller. We also discovered how much the PS4 will cost, so read on to find out. See also: PS4 event E3 2013: live video stream.
PS4 price in the UK: how much will the PlayStation 4 cost?
Before the PS4 launch at E3, we said that console would cost somewhere between on the spread between £350 and £400. And probably closer to £350. We said Sony could make, ship and sell a £350 PS4 without losing money, and it would be sufficiently cheap to drive early adoption - you're getting a lot of home-entertainment kit for just over half the price of the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Well is turns out we were on the money, if you excuse the pun, because the PlayStation 4 will sell for £349 in the UK ($399 in the US and €399 in Europe). For comparison the Xbox One will cost more at £429.
Sony has also said the DualShock 4 controller and PlayStation Camera will cost £44 if being purchased separately ($59 in the US and Canada and €49 in Europe). Both will come in 'jet black'.
PS4 price in the UK: what we know
Let's have a look at the hard facts: the PlayStation 4 will include an AMD x86-based 8-core CPU and an enhanced GPU which Sony described as a "Supercharged PC architecture", as well as 8GB of DDR5 RAM. This is an impressive spec that with healthy storage could cost upwards of £750 in desktop or laptop PC form. But Sony is able to source components and manufacture a single spec of console on a scale enjoyed by very few others. It could slash that figure in half and still sell the PS4 without losing money. And it is unlikely that Sony will look to make a large profit on the original sale of the PlayStation 4: the real cash is in the games and movies it can sell via the console.
See also Sony PS4 launch preview.
We know that the PlayStation 4 will support Blu-ray, DVD and HDMI output, and it is of course web connected. This is important because Sony's consoles are multimedia devices. The PlayStation 4 will be a set-top box for the digital home. More than simply games it will offer access to movies, TV and music as well as the web. That means Sony could charge more in store, of course, but more likely it opens up a whole set of revenue streams that will reduce the initial cost of the console. Sony doesn't have to make its profit on the device itself.
For instance: the PS4 won't be backwards compatible with old games. If you want to play your favourites you might have to purchase them again, lining Sony's pockets once more. You will also be able to stream PS3 and older generation games online - as well as streaming your PS4 games to smartphone or tablet. This is a great capability, but at some stage you'll have to pay for it: either directly as a service, through advertising, or even through your data.
Sony has posted this handy video showing how to share games on the PS4.
Sony will make most of its money from the PlayStation 4 via the media purchased by users to enjoy on their PS4 console. Some of the mentioned games for the PS4 include: Killzone: Shadowfall (Guerrilla Games), Drive Club (Evolution Studios), Infamous 3 (Sucker Punch), Deep Down (Capcom), Watch Dogs (Ubisoft), Diablo III (Blizzard) and Bungie's Destiny (Activision). In order to drive the success of these games, to attract new games, and to sell the movies in which Sony has such a vested interest, it is critical that the Sony PS4 is a success, and quickly. So expect a reasonably friendly price in store.