It’s fair to say that the PS4 was far and away the winner of its generation. After dominating the previous round of consoles, Nintendo was left lagging behind thanks to the poor performance of the Wii U, and mistakes made early on by Microsoft meant that many gamers remained reluctant to pick up an Xbox One even years into the generation. That means the PlayStation 4 emerged as the clear victor, cementing Sony’s reputation as gaming giants (as if the PS2 and PS3 hadn’t already done that).
With that in mind, we thought now would be a good time to take a look back at the PS4. Sony hasn’t sunsetted the console just yet, but it’s looking like the PS4 might cease production sometime in the next few years, and it might get more difficult to pick up an entirely new console. As such, a retrospective seems pretty timely right now, so let’s take a trip back in time to when the PS4 released and ask ourselves what the circumstances were around its launch.
The PS4 was announced in February 2013
The original PlayStation 4 console, before any of its future versions or modifications, was announced on February 20th, 2013, as part of the PlayStation Meeting event. Sony was able to leverage the fact that Microsoft was having a pretty poor time marketing the Xbox One, pricing their console below Microsoft’s offering and promising that gamers would be able to play pre-owned games and play them offline at that.
The original PS4 launched in November 2013
Fastforward just a few months, and Sony has announced the release date for the PS4. The company revealed the date at the Gamescom event in August 2013, with the console set to launch in November. The PS4 officially arrived on November 15th in the USA and on November 29th in Europe. Here’s the original launch lineup for the console in case you weren’t around when it launched.
- Angry Birds Star Wars
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
- Battlefield 4
- Call of Duty: Ghosts
- FIFA 14
- Injustice: Gods Among Us – Ultimate Edition
- Just Dance 2014
- Killzone Shadow Fall
- Lego: Marvel Super Heroes
- Madden NFL 25
- NBA 2K14
- NBA Live 14
- Need for Speed: Rivals
- Skylanders Swap Force
These were the boxed retail launch games for the PS4, but there were also a number of PSN games available on day one. These included DiveKick, Resogun, and Flower, among many others. As you can see, it’s a pretty impressive lineup, although the PS4 wouldn’t become the true winner of the generation until much later.
How did the PS4 sell during launch week?
During launch week, the PS4 had a pretty impressive run. Sony’s console managed to sell more than 2.1 million consoles. In fact, if you were around when the PS4 launched, you might remember console shortages that happened because the demand for the PS4 was sky-high. Unfortunately, we’re now seeing an echo of those shortages in the PS5, which is incredibly difficult to get hold of. However, unlike the PS4, supply issues are causing shortages of the PS5, so it’s a slightly different situation.
Across its entire lifetime, the PS4 has so far sold 106 million units, with 117.2 million units shipped in total. When we compare this to the Xbox One, which most analysts consider to have sold around 51 million units across all different models, it’s fair to say that the PS4 completely outperformed Microsoft’s console in the eighth console generation.
When did the PS4 Slim release?
In 2016, Sony unveiled a completely new model of the PS4, which was affectionately dubbed the PS4 Slim. This was never given as an official name for the machine; instead, it was intended to replace the original PS4 model. It had a smaller form factor, less sharp edges, and a lighter weight, but other than that, it had the exact same capabilities as its older brother. If you were looking to pick up a PS4 after 2016, then the chances are you’d have encountered this newer model instead of the original one. The PS4 Slim launched on September 15th, 2016.
When did the PS4 Pro release?
Alongside the PS4 Slim, Sony also revealed that it would be bringing a souped-up version of the PS4 to market. The PS4 Pro had an emphasis on 4K gaming; with more and more gamers picking up 4K displays, Sony considered it imperative that their console support this new standard. As such, games that were released after the PS4 Pro’s launch would usually have optimisations for the new console, and many older PS4 games would also perform better on the Pro thanks to its Boost Mode. The PS4 Pro launched on November 10th, 2016, and was positioned as the PS4 console of choice for hardcore gamers.
When was the PS4 discontinued?
Originally, Sony was supposedly intending to discontinue PS4 production when 2021 was over. However, ongoing PS5 production issues have led to Sony continuing to manufacture the PS4, likely in order to ensure that gamers are able to at least get some kind of Sony console into their living rooms. We don’t yet know when the production problems with the PS5 will end, but it looks like Sony is preparing for the long haul. That does mean you can still get a PS4 if you want one, but you’re out of luck if you want a new PS4 Pro or an original PS4, as those models were both discontinued at the beginning of 2021.