The PlayStation 4 (abbreviated as PS4) is a home video game console developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment, formerly Sony Computer Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 during a press conference on February 20, 2013, it was launched on November 15, 2013 in North America, and November 29, 2013 in Europe, South America and Australia, and February 22, 2014 in Japan. It competes with Nintendo's Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox One, as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles.
Moving away from the more complex Cell microarchitecture of its predecessor, the console features an AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) built upon the x86-64 architecture, which has a theoretical peak performance of 1.84 teraflops; AMD stated that it was the "most powerful" APU they had developed to date. The PlayStation 4 places an increased emphasis on social interaction and integration with other devices and services, including the ability to play games off-console on PlayStation Vita and supported Sony Xperia mobile devices ("Remote Play"), the ability to stream gameplay online, or to friends with them controlling gameplay remotely ("Share Play"). The console's controller was also redesigned and improved over the PlayStation 3, with improved buttons and analog sticks, and an integrated touchpad among other changes.
Reception to the PlayStation 4 prior to its launch was positive, with critics praising Sony for acknowledging its consumers' needs, embrace of independent game development, and for not imposing the same digital rights management schemes that Microsoft had previously announced for Xbox One prior to its release. Critics and third-party studios also praised the capabilities of the PlayStation 4 in comparison to its competitors; developers described the performance difference between the console and Xbox One as being "significant" and "obvious". Heightened demand for the PS4 helped Sony top global console sales. As of June 30, 2016, more than 43 million consoles have been shipped worldwide.