With more than 1m advance orders already scored, Sony has priced its device at £349 in the UK and $399 (£254) in the United States, exactly $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, Microsoft's first new console in eight years.
'The response we have seen is nothing short of incredible,' Sony computer entertainment chief executive Andrew House told the Gamescom industry conference in Germany.
Both companies are gambling that, nearly two decades after the 1994 arrival of the first PlayStation, gaming enthusiasts are still prepared to invest in new consoles and the boxed titles to play on them.
Games designed for mobile phones, tablets and laptops are increasingly drawing consumers away from consoles, with titles such as Angry Birds, Farmville and the Candy Crush saga among the biggest hits of recent years.
A new console is no guarantee of success, as Nintendo discovered last Christmas. Despite having the market to itself by launching the Wii U a full year ahead of its rivals' latest offerings, Nintendo failed to capitalise on its lead. The Wii U is now being outsold by its predecessor, the Wii.
The PlayStation 4, which debuts in the United States on 15 November, will help buyers save money by offering unrestricted access to pre-owned games, which means Sony gamers can sell titles to each other or lend them to friends. Disc-based games will not need an online connection to work, and free or third party services like online chat and Netflix will not be locked behind a PlayStation subscription paywall.
Computer games publisher Electronic Arts predicted a return to form for disc-based games. 'We actually see growth this year in our plan for physical boxed games. The concept that physical media is dead is completely erroneous at this point,' said Peter Moore, chief operating officer.
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