Discounted PlayStation 4 on Virgin Media?

Virgin Media is to help Sony launch its PS4 in the UK, which could see gamers being able to spread the cost of their next console in a similar way to how we buy our expensive smartphones on contract.

If you're thinking of buying a PlayStation 4 this Christmas - its UK release date is Friday 29 November - there's a chance you'll save money by getting the console as part of a broadband bundle.

That's because Sony has teamed up with Virgin Media for the launch its next games machine, which will heavily rely on an internet connection, and it's possible that as part of the deal, Virgin Media customers will be offered a discounted PS4 with their broadband.

It could be, for example, that new customers signing up for a broadband, typically on an 18-month contract, pay a small amount extra upfront to get a PlayStation - priced around £349 in shops - while the remainder is paid off monthly.

This would spread the cost in a similar way to how we buy smartphones on contract.

At the moment, it's hard to say what will actually happen, as Virgin Media and Sony are both being very secretive about their plans.

Virgin Media director Jon James said: "The eagerly-anticipated release date for the PlayStation 4 is just weeks away and we're excited to be Sony's UK partner.

"We're keeping the details under wraps for now, but there's so much we're already exploring together to make this an incredible entertainment experience for British fans."

As well as some much-awaited games available at launch, including Assassin's Creed 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Fifa 14, the PS4 also comes internet ready, connecting to your home broadband for a whole host of web-based services.

You'll be available to play online with friends or strangers, download games and updates, and enjoy TV and movie streaming with the likes of Netflix and LOVEFiLM Instant.

What's certain is that broadband is now at the heart of almost everything games consoles can do. So if your internet isn't up to scratch it could be the ideal time to switch to a faster service - you never know, it might save you money on your next console too.

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