Sony’s next games console, which has previously been dubbed “PlayStation 4″ for obvious reasons, is going to be called “Orbis” – according to sources familiar to the matter. The name, which may be its internal codename and could change before release, is a latin word, which means circle or ring.
The same sources have also told games website Kotaku that the next generation console will launch in Q4 2013, just in time for Christmas that year.
Of course, sources can often be wide of the mark. You only need read the rumours from the preceding two weeks or so before the launch of any Apple device to know that. However, there’s a further clue to back up the name claim. The URL for Sony’s portal for developers, generally begins with the hardware name in question; vita.scedev.net or ps3.scedev.net, for example. Type orbis.scedev.net, and you get to the same page. Type ps4.scedev.net and you don’t, you get a 404 instead.
That proves that Sony is considering that name for one of its products or platforms.
Kotaku also reports that its main source has revealed a little about the prospective specifications of the Orbis (which will surely be called PS Orbis, much like the PS Vita). At present the processor will be an AMD x64 CPU, while the graphics will be handled by the AMD Southern Islands GPU. The latter will be capable of managing video resolutions of up to 4096 x 2160 (4K2K) in order to cater for the next generation of high definition TVs, such as the Toshiba 55ZL2, currently on sale at John Lewis.
The main source also states that select developers have been receiving Orbis devkits since the beginning of the year, and that, sadly, there will be no backwards compatibility with the PS3. It will not spin PlayStation 3 discs, although Pocket-lint would expect you’ll be able to purchase digital copies of PS3 titles through the PlayStation Store.
Finally, Kotaku claims that the new machine will also come with anti-used games measures, like the Xbox 720/Durango. Its source states that the Blu-ray or digital download version of the full game will be locked to the purchaser’s PSN account. A game will always need to be authenticated online when first loaded, so a broadband connection will be a must.
We’ve no idea what that means for trade-in games, but, to be honest, with the painful and sad demise of GAME and Gamestation, that side of the market is diminishing in the UK anyway. At least, unlike some reports of the Durango, it seems Sony is keen to keep a disc drive on the new console.