After months of anticipation, Sony's next version of its hugely successful gaming console, the PlayStation 4, has gone on sale in the United States.

Likened to a "supercharged PC", it boasts an eight-core x86 processor and has a new social feature which lets players share recorded gameplay clips with a press of a button from the console's controller.

The new "Dualshock 4" controller also includes a touchpad, and a lightbar, which allows a separate camera to track player's movement in 3D for motion sensing games.

Meanwhile, a new PlayStation Cloud service for the console will let players buy games online which can be played immediately as they download in the background.

To mark the unveiling, here below we take a look at the record-breaking achievements of its predecessors.

First video game console to ship 100 million units

The earliest video game console to ship 100 million units was the PlayStation. In May 2004 Sony announced that their first home video game entertainment system had sold 100 million units worldwide - the first console in history to do so. The figure includes sales for the PSOne, the smaller version which was launched in 2000.

Best-selling computer games console

Whatever the new device is that Sony unveil this evening, it will have to go a long way to match the success of the PlayStation 2.

Released in 2000, manufacturing of the console only ceased this year, but sold over 153.6 million units (as of 21 November 2011), earning it a world record for the most units shifted for a video gaming device. The second best-selling console is the Nintendo DS, released in 2004. The DS overtook the PS2 in January 2011, when it registered 147 million sales, before losing ground.

First game to sell over one million units for the PlayStation

The earliest PlayStation game to sell over one million units was Tekken, released for PlayStation in Japan in March 1995 - and the rest of the world in November of that year. Tekken remains one of the most successful fighting games of all time.

First PlayStation 2 game to sell over 1 million units

It may come as a surprise to western gamers, but the first title to reach a similar feat for the PS2 was Capcom's Onimusha: Warlords, released on 25 January 2001.

Created by some of the same team behind Resident Evil, the Warlords title was a phenomenal success when it launched alongside the then new console in Japan. The game, which was set in feudal Japan, surpassed the 1 million sales mark in that country in less than a month, and went on to sell over 2 million copies worldwide. The Xbox port of the game, Genma: Onimusha, also has the distinction of being the first game Capcom released for a Microsoft platform, as it hit the Xbox on 28 January 2002.

First console game to use a dual analog stick controller

Twin analog stick controllers such as the PlayStation's DualShock are now standard on most current-generation consoles (even the motion-sensing Wii offers one as an add-on), because they allow a level of precision that previous digital controllers simply couldn't live up to. The first console game to make exclusive use of a twin analog stick controller was the PlayStation 3D platformer Ape Escape, released by Sony on 31 May 1999. While earlier games supported both analog and digital controllers, Ape Escape was the first console title that would only function with the new and improved input method.

First PlayStation 2 game to support online play

The earliest Playstation 2 game to allow online play was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, published by Activision, released in 2001. Unlike later online titles this could be done without the need for an adaptor, by using a standard USB connector and a dial-up connection.

First video game console to support Blu-ray

One of the key selling points for the PS3 when it was released was its support for Blu-ray technology allowing for HD movies to be watched on the console, and larger capacity for data on game discs. Blu-ray uses a blue laser that has a shorter wavelength than conventional disks and readers, allowing more data to be stored. A single-layer Blu-ray can hold 25 GB while a double-layer disk can hold 50GB.

First commercial use of the "Cell" processor

The earliest commercial use of the much-hyped Cell Engine was in the PlayStation 3. Described as a "breakthrough microprocessor" the Cell - designed by Sony, Toshiba, and IBM - it was aimed at applications requiring 3Dgraphics and video; in other words perfect for gaming.

Best-selling karaoke game series

The PlayStation platform has also been a popular one for those sing as well as those who like to shoot things. The best-selling karaoke game series of all time is Sony's SingStar (2004-10). More than 22 million discs have been sold and over 15 million tracks have been downloaded from the series' online SingStore. To date, more than 1.5 million players have uploaded nearly 300,000 videos of their performances to the My SingStar Online service.

Largest computing network for a games console

The largest computing network is the Folding@Home project. In March 2007 Stanford University and Sony announced that the PlayStation 3 was to join the Folding@Home project. This allows users to contribute the processing power of their machines to the scientific study of protein folding and associated diseases like Alzheimers. As of October 2007 more than 289,000 PlayStation 3 users have signed up, making this the largest and most powerful distributed computing project for a games console.

First videogame with PS3 and PS Vita cross-play
One of the key features of Sony's most recent handheld device, the PS Vita, is its ability to enable owners to play head-to-head with PS3 owners on certain games. The first game to boast the feature was Wipeout HD on the PS3 which lets players take on Vita owners equipped with Wipeout 2048. Online, up to eight players can take part in the same game, whether they're clutching their PS3 controller or their PS Vita.

Best-selling PlayStation Vita videogame
When Sony needed a star for its PS Vita launch, it was Uncharted: Golden Abyss to the rescue. Developed under the watchful eye of creators Naughty Dog, the spin-off debuted with the PS Vita in Japan on 17 December 2011. As of August 2012, the fourth entry in the Uncharted saga had sold 580,000 copies worldwide, firmly cementing Nathan Drake as PS Vita's leading man.

Most expensive PlayStation 3 game sold at auction
The most expensive PlayStation 3 game sold at auction was a factory sealed copy of NBA Elite 11 (EA, 2011) which fetched a price of $1,500 (£915), and was sold by Damian Fraimorice (Israel) to a buyer in the USA on 2 August 2011.

NBA Elite 11 is a rarity because its retail release was cancelled after it had gone into full production: the publisher, EA, pulled the game over 'polish concerns'. The factory-sealed box sold by Damian Fraimorice is one of only 10 mint condition sealed copies known to exist.