In the world of video games, any news regarding the next generation of consoles is bound to set off a powder keg of rumor and speculation among the media and gamers alike. The speculative details regarding the next Xbox, codenamed “Durango“, set off a firestorm of media coverage and fan speculation earlier this year, and the same has happened today with some emerging rumors regarding Sony’s successor to the Playstation 3. An article on Kotaku, quoting anonymous “reliable sources”, suggests that the new Playstation will be named ”Orbis” and is set to be launched during the 2013 holiday season. While no official confirmation from Sony has been forthcoming, the rumors do provide some interesting insight into what the next generation of game consoles might be capable of.
Among the enhancements being reported, the Orbis will feature an AMD X64 CPU and a high-end AMD “Southern Island” Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) that will allow the system to display games at a substantially higher resolution than the Playstation 3, and for the first time will allow full 1080p support for 3D-enabled games. The rumors also suggest some kind of cross-platform functionality between the Orbis and the PS Vita, which is highly likely since a key feature being touted for the Vita is the “Remote Play” option between the Vita and the Playstation 3. Incorporating Vita support in the Orbis is a move that makes sense. The name itself, ”Orbis”, is Latin for “Circle” and could be just a codename or completely fictitious, though it would fit with Sony’s current trend towards giving their platforms a Latin name, the Vita being another example.
As is the case in life in general, you can’t have the sweet without tasting a bit of the sour. Similar to the rumors that have been circulating about the new Xbox, sources are claiming that the Orbis could limit, or outright prevent, the ability for used games to be played on the system. This will reportedly be accomplished by Sony adopting the PC practice of linking games to a specific Playstation Network account and requiring gamers to be connected to the Playstation Network in order for the game to to be played. The details on how this will work, if indeed it is true, are likely to be the subject of rampant speculation in the months leading up to Sony’s official unveiling, which is also unconfirmed at this point. The rumor mill also suggests that Sony will completely drop backwards compatibility for Playstation 3 titles, a move that is not improbable given that Sony dropped support for PS2 titles starting with the third generation of the Playstation 3.
As with all rumors, this information is to be taken with a grain of salt. Sony has declined any official comment, citing the industry policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation, so gamers will have to wait patiently for concrete details to emerge. Whether Sony will unveil the Orbis at this year’s E3, or indeed if any announcement is to be made in the near future, remains to be seen.