There were plenty of shock announcements during Sony’s big GamesCom press conference earlier today, but the PlayStation 4’s release date certainly rubbed against our expectations. We were confident that the system would deploy in late October, as part of yet another one-two punch on the Xbox One – but Sony confirmed that the next generation console will actually arrive on 15th November in North America and 29th November in Europe. For those residing in the latter region, that’s roughly 100 days away.

The date gives Sony opportunity to replenish stock ahead of the Black Friday shopping extravaganza in North America

Erase the competition, and the date is not necessarily a terrible choice. Yes, it sits somewhere after the release of many of the big third-party blockbusters – Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and more – but the platform holder’s partially eradicated that problem by announcing a generous – if not absolutely ideal – upgrade path for impatient consumers. It also gives the manufacturer ample opportunity to replenish stock ahead of the all-important Black Friday shopping extravaganza in North America, as well as ensure that the console maintains buzz through until Christmas.

But we’d expected the Japanese giant to beat Microsoft to store shelves, and that’s now looking unlikely. Granted, the Redmond-based manufacturer hasn’t attached a date to its console yet, but unless it launches within days of its counterpart, we can see the North American firm beating the PlayStation maker to the punch. Considering the recent spate of Xbox One alterations, getting its box out first may just slightly tip the balance of power out of Sony’s hands. And that would be a colossal shame considering the strides that it’s made throughout the year to engineer an advantage.

With both systems pretty much sold out of pre-orders, a very brief launch advantage is not going to make an enormous difference. However, the hunger for new systems is palpable, and fence-sitters may be tempted to plump up for whichever console comes first. This is furthered by the fact that multiplatform software will be available on one machine ahead of the other – though both consoles will have to compete against the very relevant current generation systems in that department, too.

There are other factors to consider, though. Whether it arrives first or not, the Xbox One will only release in 13 territories this year, while the PS4 will hit a lot more regions. That means that – despite launching later than expected – the console will definitely be available first in some countries. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the software needs to be properly finished – a late October release would have been great, but perhaps not so fun for Guerrilla Games and Evolution Studios who are working on launch titles.

The later than expected release date isn’t a disaster – but it is still a touch disappointing

And then there’s the small matter of allocations. Sony noted that there are already one million pre-orders in place for its next generation console, and presumably it hopes to sell a lot more than that over the Christmas period. If neither manufacturer can satisfy demand, then it doesn’t really matter when the systems launch. Indeed, the console that wins the sales war this year will likely be determined by production capacity, rather than consumer interest.

So, the later than expected release date isn’t a disaster – but it is still a touch disappointing. It’s now down to Microsoft to play its hand, and reveal when the Xbox One is due out. Sony’s undeniably given the firm a small window of opportunity by confirming a late November launch for the PS4, but other than take the gloss off an incredible six months for the manufacturer, it's not the end of the world. All that it needs to do is keep consumers hyped for the next generation system for another three months, and we're sure that that won't prove too tough.


What do you think of the PS4’s release date? Do you think that it’s too late, or are you comfortable waiting until November to get your hands on the console? Let us know in the comments section and poll below.

Do you think that the PS4’s release date is too late? (58 votes)

Yes, now Sony’s given Microsoft the momentum

12%

It’s disappointing, but I’ll cope

34%

No, I think that the late November launch is fine

53%

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