There have been minor trickles of info about the eventual successor to the PS3, but nothing that was ever really worth discussing, or anything that ever felt like it had any weight to it. But now, the first solid rumors are here. First up, the PlayStation 4 is currently codenamed “Orbis”.
These rumors stem from Kotaku, whose source claims that developers have had dev kits for some time, with an updated version arriving at their desks around GDC, with another round of more finalized dev units coming toward the end of 2012.
Orbis may sound like an odd name, but it may give clues to how Vita may come into play with the new PlayStation. Orbis Vitae, in latin, means “Circle of Life”. This could hint that the PlayStation Vita could be integral to how Orbis works. If you’re wondering about the validity of the Orbis name… Sony even has a devnet address for Orbis in its system: http://orbis.scedev.net/
Details on specs are thin, and can easily change before the system’s eventual retail release, but Orbis supposedly features an AMD x64 CPU and an AMD Southern Islands GPU which is not only capable of displaying 3D games at full 1080p, but regular, non-3D games at a whopping 4096×2160 resolution.
While all of this is exciting, there are some no-so-exciting elements to these rumors. For one, the source claims that Sony won’t even bother with backwards compatibility this time around. That means Orbis won’t play your PS3 library, and you’ll have to keep your PS3 around. Presumably this will be to keep PS3 sales going, and to reduce costs of Orbis up-front. Also, much like recent rumors about the next Xbox having anti-used games protection, Orbis may have something similar. The source claims that games will be tied to a PSN account, so resold version will be limited in some way, and will likely have to buy a pass to access the full game feature set.
Much like the Vita, Orbis is said to support retail games (on Blu-ray format) and will have retail games available for download over the PSN.
The juiciest of all details is the fact that Sony could be readying this for a holiday 2013 launch.
I know this is a LOT to ingest, but let us know your thoughts in the comments below.