To understand the PlayStation 4, you need to know that it was built by a focus group—and not the bad kind that tries to water everything down to please the mythical center, but one comprised entirely of hardcore gamers and game developers. When designing the PS4, Sony took its marching orders from this notoriously uncompromising niche who wanted the new machine to do everything under the sun: produce 1080p graphics at 60 frames per second, download games while you play them, share gameplay clips with friends on Facebook, stream a gameplay broadcast on Twitch, and incorporate motion controls, touch controls, and voice activation in the least obtrusive way possible. And, oh yeah, it needed to come in at a launch price that was way, way less than the PS3’s initial $600 tag.

Sony did all of that and more with the PlayStation 4, knocking its latest hardware launch out of the park and delivering an experience that will please hardcore and casual gamers—and anyone in between—for only $400. But do you need one right now? History, after all, hasn’t favored the early adopter. Remember that the first Xbox 360s didn’t pack wi-fi and were plagued by the red ring of death, and the first PS3s were bulky dinosaurs compared to the sleek, slim versions that supplanted them later on.

Never fear. We’re here to walk you through everything you need to know about the PS4.

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