Despite expectations that the PlayStation 4 would not launch in the UK until 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment has now said the console will go on sale in the EU this year in order to beat competition from rival Microsoft and its next Xbox, also due in 2013.

PS4 release date uk
Fan-made concept art of the front of the PlayStation 4. (Credit: Kotaku)

Speaking to CVG, an insider "involved with PlayStation's business strategy" said Sony is expecting Microsoft to make a hard push into the European market, and to combat this Sony will release the PS4 before the end of 2013 to gain first-mover advantage.

Originally, the PS4 was slated to launch in Asian and American markets by Christmas, 2013, before being released in the EU early the following year.

Though no release date for the next Xbox has been set, during the last console generation Sony lost out to Microsoft in Europe, releasing the PlayStation 3 more than a year after the Xbox 360. Figures from VG Chartz show that by the time the PS3 launched in Europe in March, 2007, the 360, which launched more than a year earlier, had already sold 3.3 million units in the region.

There is a possibility that Microsoft is planning a similarly aggressive sales strategy in the EU with its next Xbox. In March, 2012, the company hired former vice president of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE) to work as vice president of its Interactive Entertainment Business.

At the time, a Microsoft spokesman said Harrison would "not only lead the Microsoft Studios European organisation directly, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB's European business through strategic partnerships and by bringing culturally relevant entertainment experiences to Microsoft platforms, now and in the future."

The PlayStation 4 was officially announced in New York City on 20 February, though the console itself was not revealed. It is now expected that the PS4 itself will be shown off at this year's E3, held in Los Angeles between 11 June and 13 June.

The next Xbox meanwhile, thought to be named Xbox Infinity, is scheduled to be announced on 21 May.