Today Kotaku (linked above) reports that Sony is rumored to debut the PlayStation 4 (PS4) next-generation console in 2013 which is currently assumed to be codenamed as Orbis.
While PS4.SCEDev.net does not currently work, the URL Orbis.SCEDev.net currently resolves to Sony's developer network Web site.
To quote: "While the official reveal of Sony's next home console could still be months away, if not longer, Kotaku has today learned some important details concerning the PlayStation 3's successor.
For one, the console's name- or at least its codename/working title- is apparently Orbis. And it's being planned for release in time for the 2013 holiday season.
The details in this story come from a reliable source who is not authorized to talk publicly about next-gen hardware but has shared correct information with us before. What they're telling us in specifics matches much of what we've heard and reported in generalities in recent weeks.
A Sony spokesperson declined to comment about these details, citing the company's policy not to comment on "rumors or speculation."
WHAT'S IN A NAME
Orbis. Say it out loud. Sounds a little like the word "four", doesn't it? Only it doesn't make the next PlayStation sound like a bad horror movie sequel.
It's also a name loaded with meaning. The word "Orbis" itself, from Latin, means circle, or ring, or even orbit. Not terribly helpful. Combine it with the name of Sony's new handheld system, though, and you have the common term Orbis Vita (or, in strict Latin, Orbis Vitae). Which means "The circle of life". Could the Vita be playing a very important role in the development and use of the next PlayStation home console? Maybe!
Such symbolism also suggests that rather than being a codename, like most companies employ when still developing a console (think NGP, or Durango), this might actually be the machine's final name. We don't know that, though, so keep an open mind about things.
Our main source supplied some basic specs for the console, but as the future is always in motion, bear in mind these could easily change between now and the Orbis' retail release. Still, if you'd like to know what developers are being told to plan for now, here you go.
- AMD x64 CPU
- AMD Southern Islands GPU
The former, that's largely something we've heard before, but the latter is interesting. That's the name given to many of AMD's 2012 roster of high-end PC cards. The PS4's GPU in particular, we're told, will be capable of displaying Orbis games at a resolution of up to 4096x2160, which is far in excess of the needs of most current HDTV sets. It'll also be capable of playing 3D games in 1080p (the PS3 could only safely manage 3D at 720p).
Our main source tell us that "select developers" have been receiving dev kits for the new console since the beginning of this year. Revised and improved versions of these kits were sent out around GDC, while more finalised beta units will be shipped to developers towards the end of 2012.
That should hopefully give developers plenty of time to have launch games ready for the Orbis' retail release, which will be in time for the 2013 holiday season. If you can remember the PS3 launch- it's OK if you can't, it was a while ago- that too was in time for the holiday shopping season (November 2006 for Japan and North America).
SO LONG, PS3 GAMES
Remember how the PlayStation 3 swiftly dropped the ability to play PS2 games? Well, our main source tell us the Orbis won't even bother, and that Sony has no plans to offer backwards compatibility for its existing catalogue of PS3 games.
SO LONG, USED GAMES
Just like the next Xbox/Durango, we've heard from multiple sources that the Orbis will likewise have some kind of anti-used games measures built into the console. Here's how our main source says it's currently shaping up: new games for the system will be available one of two ways, either on a Blu-Ray disc or as a PSN download (yes, even full retail titles). If you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account, after which you can play the game, save the whole thing to your HDD, or peg it as "downloaded" in your account history and be free to download it at a later date.
Don't think you can simply buy the disc and stay offline, though; like many PC games these days, you'll need to have a PSN account and be online to even get the thing started.
If you then decide to trade that disc in, the pre-owned customer picking it up will be limited in what they can do. While our sources were unclear on how exactly the pre-owned customer side of things would work, it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game.
This would allow used games to continue to be sold at outlets such as GameStop, while also appeasing major publishers who would no longer have to implement their own haphazard approaches to "online passes"."
Finally, as a follow-up from Kotaku to quote:
"The design firm Coque Design may have worked on illustrations for certain features of the next PlayStation, according to pictures a tipster spotted on its website today.
The pictures, which have since been removed from the site, were labeled "Illustrations & Sketches for new PlayStation Orbis features." Orbis is the codename for Sony's next gaming console, as Kotaku revealed today.
The photos depict several people moving around in front of some sort of Kinect-like motion-sensing device that rests on top of a television. (As a commenter points out, this device also resembles the PlayStation Eye accessory.) One person is using what appears to be an iPhone or iPod to control music that may be linked to the game system as well.
We've reached out to Coques Design and we will update should we hear any further information."
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