November will be one of the biggest months in gaming ever recorded for the sheer fact that both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One will be launching a week apart from each other. The PlayStation 4 will be at TAVES (Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show) this weekend in Toronto for all attendees to see firsthand.
TAVES leans more towards audio and home theatre, which might seem like a different direction than game consoles, but really isn’t when you look at what these shiny new boxes will be able to do. Their primary purpose may be to play games, but their overall performance is tied to everything from streaming media, running apps and TV integration. The Xbox One won’t be there in practice but will be part of the conversation nonetheless.
The PS4, on the other hand, will be prominent, almost like a special guest. With its launch a mere two weeks away, the next generation gaming console promises to be something far better than what the PS3 currently is today. There’s plenty of evidence on paper to suggest that, though the smattering of visuals coming from gameplay trailers also indicate a substantial visual upgrade.
Part of the reason is what’s invisible to the average user. The components under the hood are based on the kind of architecture seen in PC computers — eight-core x86 processor, 8GB RAM, Radeon graphics and 500GB hard drive. The RAM, in particular, is GDDR5 memory, amounting to 16 times that found in the PS3, which should help keep the console current for years. Using a standard x86 processor also makes things easier for developers.
In short, the console will be a beast. Though Sony hasn’t played up the TV side of things as much as Microsoft has with the Xbox One, the PS4 will have a faster Blu-ray drive, and have the capability of playing video and photos in 4K resolution (though games will be rendered in 1080p for the foreseeable future). The system is also arguably more open than the PS3 was in the sense that the hard drive can reportedly easier to replace for a larger one, and in that gamers will be able to broadcast their gameplay live to friends over the Internet.
Streaming platforms like Netflix, NHL GameCenter and others will be supported right off the bat on launch, and more are expected to follow as Sony will seemingly embrace more of an app ecosystem this time around. This also makes it likely that streaming content from within your home, which improved greatly in the last few years on the PS3, will be easy to do as well.
One downside is that there will be no backward compatibility with older games from the previous console generations. The expectation is that Sony will look to bring that to the cloud instead and offer some sort of streaming solution, somewhat similar to the PlayGo feature Sony touted, which allows gamers to immediately start playing a game even though it hasn’t fully downloaded. With music and movie rentals being part of the mix, plus the prospect of more apps, the PS4 could conceivably compete with the likes of Apple TV and Roku to be the go-to entertainment device in the home.
There will be a camera similar in concept to Xbox’s Kinect, simply called PlayStation Camera, which will recognize and sense people and objects in front of it. That peripheral probably won’t be at the show, since it doesn’t come with the console, like the Kinect does with the Xbox One.
The PS4 itself will be at the show so that attendees can not only see the box up close, but also some of what it’s capable of as well. Technology journalist and TV personality, Marc Saltzman, will be on hand holding a seminar every day that will include the PS4 as part of his presentation, where he will delve into the role the console can play in home theatre trends.
TAVES will be running from Nov. 1-3 at the King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto, where rooms will be used to present all the products and seminars. The PS4 likely won’t be very hard to find, as its one of the most anticipated products to be at the show.