Sony has priced their new PS4 �80 cheaper than Microsoft's Xbox One

Games console battle intensifies with �349 PS4

Sony has revealed the PlayStation 4 will cost £349, giving rivals Microsoft "a bloody nose" in the battle over gaming consoles.

Sony chief executive Andrew House gave the audience the first glimpse of the PS4 at the E3 electronic entertainment trade show in Los Angeles, hailing it as a console of "unparalleled power".

It came hours after Microsoft revealed that its new XBox One games console will set gamers back £429 when it launches in November.

Sony also drew cheers from the audience at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles when it said the PS4 would run second-hand games and did not require an always-on Internet connection.

Microsoft had earlier elicited groans from gamers when it announced restrictions on used games for the Xbox One and said players had to log onto the Internet for authentication.

Gaming experts said the low price along with news that gamers will not be stopped from buying cheaper pre-owned games has pushed the PS4 ahead of its rivals.

Alex Simmons, UK editor of entertainment website IGN said: "In the battle between the consoles at E3 it looked fairly even until Sony gave Microsoft a bloody nose with its £349 price point for PlayStation 4 and heavily pushing its relationship with gamers by clearly reinforcing it would allow the sale of pre-owned games and not require a permanent online connection like its rival.

"The PlayStation 4 has a sleek modern look and the company revealed wave after wave of exclusive titles from both major publishers and smaller developers alike.

"With both consoles offering similar technical specs the £80 price difference and ability to buy cheaper pre-owned games might push die-hard Xbox fans to try PlayStation for the first time.

“It's going to be an exciting Christmas for consumers as these two exciting new machines do battle for the hearts and minds of UK gamers."

The specialist features will also include giving independent gamers the ability to broadcast a live stream of their play, as well as being able to access films, TV shows and music.

Sony will also be developing Cloud technology, allowing owners to play their old games from previous PlayStation models via the internet.

House, from Wales, told the conference that "delivering breakthrough gaming experience" is at the core of the PS4.

"We'll continue to prove to you that we have the games, entertainment, value and innovation to give you the very best place to play," he said.

Microsoft and Sony hope the consoles will attract new fans and retain users who are increasingly playing games on smartphones and other mobile devices, gradually diminishing the $66bn video game business. Both companies are also offering more entertainment options.

The Xbox 360 is currently the best-selling gaming console in the US, but global sales are almost on par with the PlayStation 3.

The new Xbox and PlayStation are both pricier than the $300 Wii U which Nintendo launched late last year but which has sold poorly, partly due to a dearth of new gaming titles. Nintendo is expected to announce new games for the device at the E3 on Today.

The Xbox One is costlier than the current Xbox 360 and includes a Kinect motion sensor for hands-free game playing and Microsoft also announced several exclusive game titles.

The device will go on sale in 21 countries, including Britain, before the year-end holidays, the company said. Yusuf Mehdi, an executive at Microsoft's interactive entertainment unit, did not set any sales targets for the new Xbox.

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