PlayStation 5 launched in New Zealand with spectacular Auckland Sky Tower display

New Zealand has been ground zero this week in the battle for gaming supremacy, with Kiwis the first in the world to get their hands on both the Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony's PlayStation 5.

Microsoft transformed Queenstown into 'Greenstown' for the Series X release earlier this week so Sony had no choice but to up the ante.

Auckland's SkyTower blazed blue and had PlayStation's symbols projected onto it on Wednesday night to announce the release of the PS5 on Friday.

Inside SkyCity a few hours later, a small group of New Zealanders gathered to be among the first in the world to play the PS5 at a special LetsPlay.Live event.

"I'm sold bro, I am taking one home today and just gonna play - missus might not be too happy but," said Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck.

The former NRL star and keen gamer - known as JTS online - went head-to-head with the New Zealand Breakers captain Tom Abercrombie on NBA 2K21.

"I haven't been able to play basketball in a long time so right now i'll take it in whatever form I can get it," said Abercrombie.

The PlayStation has come a long way since it first launched way back in 1994. The PS5 features advanced tech which means it can load massive game worlds instantaneously and display at hyper crisp 4K resolution at 120 frames per second.

It's launch price in New Zealand is a hefty $820, but that hasn't stopped it being sold out everywhere.

Gaming has surged over the past decade to become the biggest entertainment industry on the planet, dwarfing its traditional competition.

The sector is set to take off here in Aotearoa, with industry experts estimating it could be worth one billion dollars annually by 2024.

"New Zealand could really become one of the leaders in this space," said LetsPlay.Live director Duane Mutu.

"So now is the time to get involved from a Government perspective, from a developer perspective, to push New Zealand to the forefront. Because we have all the tools available to us and of course without COVID-19 restrictions, many people just want to get down here to do business."

With all that money at stake it's no surprise that both Microsoft and Sony are splashing the cash in New Zealand to launch their new consoles.

But whether you're team PlayStation or team Xbox - there's one clear winner in the great console war of 2020: the gamers.