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PS4 UK launch review: Sony's ship comes in

After months of exhaustive preparation and endless endeavour, Sony is rewarded with a huge payoff

Sony launched PlayStation 4 across its second-most important market on Friday with a spectacular turnout that will convince the corporation that it's on a winning path.

Multiple accounts from gamers across London suggest queues stretched far

In London, more than 400 gamers lined the roads in Covent Garden waiting to be among the first Britons to play the new console. Meanwhile, at the Birmingham Bullring, queues stretched so far they began to clog the shopping centre's escalator. Across the country, more than 300 GAME stores, and hundreds more supermarkets and specialist retailers, stayed open for much of the night to participate in what is predicted to be a record-breaking launch.

Chris Dring, the editor of industry publication MCV, wrote from the Covent Garden event: "Ridiculous queue at the PS4 launch. Not seen anything like it for years".

Sony managed to sell more than one million PlayStation 4s in North America on day one, and judging by the intensified demand, only supply will determine whether Europe can supersede that.

Hardcore fans were queuing outside London's HMV in Oxford Street from 4am the day prior. In Covent Garden, the first person in line had been queuing for more than two days and the last person in line finally picked up his console at 5am on Friday.

The UK launch - considered as possibly the biggest ever for a console - will give the PlayStation executives yet more encouragement that the games market is still buoyant enough to sustain the increasingly questioned viability of the console business. Less importantly, early figures and general feedback will assure Sony it is fighting fit in the battle with Microsoft for Britain's market share, having fallen behind its rival during the PS3 era.

Queues at the Birmingham Bullring extended out to the escalators

Launch events took place across more than twenty countries in Europe and the wider PAL region, while an expansive marketing campaign rolled out in key cities. In London, numerous freesheet and billboard advertisements made the PS4 an unmissable fixture on underground commutes. Sony also took over the OXO tower in the capital, replacing the landmark building's logo with the iconic PlayStation controller symbols.

In Dublin, those glowing symbols were gliding across a river - Michael Jackson statue style - via boat. In Rome, a scintillating light-show transformed the 2000 year-old Castel Sant'Angelo building into a gargantuan display of dragons and those familiar PS4 colours.

Never before has the PlayStation group managed to deliver a string of launch events quite like this. With the console first revealed just nine months ago, it seems incredible that it is now a familiar fixture in the western world.

Before that bitter cold February evening when Mark Cerny introduced the PS4, the general assumption within the industry was that Microsoft was poised to capture the masses for the first time. They believed Sony was destined to fall into second place. Not now.