Sony PlayStation 4, the unboxing video

The next generation of video game consoles may've officially started last year with the release of the Nintendo Wii U, but with the console's underpowered tech specs and unimpressive market performance, some say the next generation doesn't officially start until today.

That's when Sony released the PlayStation 4. Featuring a Blu-Ray player, a 500 GB internal hard drive, 8 GB of RAM, 802.11 b/g/n wireless and wired Internet connectivity, and Bluetooth and USB 3.0, it also sports a bevy of new peripherals: the DualShock 4 controller includes a capacitive touch pad, and a "Share" button supports gameplay video capture via the Ustream and Twitch services. Launch titles include everything from the mature-rated Killzone, a first-person shooter, to Knack, a family-friendly action game.

What the PS4 doesn't include is backward compatibility: your PS1, PS2 and PS3 games will need to be played on other consoles, though Sony is investigating offering classic games through cloud-based service Gaikai. The PS4 also doesn't support video capture, thanks to High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

I skipped the PlayStation 3 generation entirely so had the budget to plunk down the $399 MSRP for today's launch. In this video, I unbox the PS4, walk through the installation, and figure out just it can do.

Click the links in the below table of contents to skip to a specific chapter of the video:

A day-one patch updates the PS4 operation system to v1.50. An official changelog indicates almost all the features it introduces are ones that were promised for the console, such as the ability to play games before they're finished downloading.

If you can't find a PlayStation 4 today, you may be out of luck this holiday season. But wait a week and you'll get another shot at the next generation of gaming: the Microsoft Xbox One launches on November 22. Prelaunch buzz is falling short of what Sony generated for the PS4, suggesting the Xbox is less likely to sell out and thus more available to those who didn't preorder.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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