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The controversial Sony PS4 Orbis

Sony are obviously unwilling to talk about their next-generation PlayStation console until the timing is right, but that hasn’t stopped the rumors flowing. A bombshell report has now emerged, claiming that Sony’s PS4 is codenamed and may end up being called the ‘Orbis’.

It sounds a strange name at first doesn’t it? But then again, that’s what we all thought about the Vita. Here’s some brief background information to the name though – Orbis in Latin means circle or ring, suggesting that the next PlayStation may have a circular design. Here’s the exciting part – combine Orbis with Vita, and in Latin you get the translation: ”Circle of Life” – that certainly doesn’t sound like a coincidence to us and it may be an early indication that the recently released Vita will feature some major interaction with the next PlayStation console.

With the name aside, let’s get on to the other major talking points. According to the scoop by Kotaku, it’s meant to be releasing during the holiday season of 2013 – which is quite remarkable if true, given all the recent talk that the PS3 is far from finished etc and Jack Tretton’s own admission that the PS3 is just ‘hitting its stride right now’.

Promising: So what will the ‘Orbis’ be able to churn out though in terms of hardware grunt? We’re hearing that the system will be based on AMD architecture (again matching up with previous rumors), more specifically an AMD 64X CPU and a AMD Southern Islands GPU, which is based around Radeon HD 7000 Series graphics cards. That’s some pretty decent processing power available there and don’t forget this is all without the use of a Cell Processor, which is equipped in the PS3 at the moment.

While some of you hardcore graphic nuts may be disappointed with a 7000 Series card, further details suggest that the Orbis will be capable of outputting a monster 4096×2160 resolution, and will be able to churn out 3D games in 1080p – a first, since the PS3 can only handle 3D games in 720p.

Controversial: All this sounds really mouth-watering we agree, but there are some major talking points to discuss – controversial ones at that. The report also includes information that the Orbis will NOT play PS3 games, ie no backwards compatibility whatsoever, and it will not play used games either. You may have read recent rumors about the next-gen Xbox also removing support for used-games as well. Sony may be taking extra measures to prevent piracy by locking all Orbis games to a PSN account, similar to the way in which the PS Vita operates at the moment.

Such a move could have serious repercussions with the likes of GameStop and other retailers that use pre-owned game sales as a core means of business. Infamous analyst Michael Pachter has already chimed in with his thoughts on the Orbis rumors by saying that GameStop may actually refuse to carry Sony’s new console and games if it does turn out that the system doesn’t support used games.

No PS3 support is obviously another major blow though – Sony would have to have some major guts to follow through with this move if true. What would it mean for games such as The Last of Us and GTA V which may both end up being 2013 release titles – you just can’t play them anymore when the new console is out? That would be quite ridiculous, especially since The Last of Us is a Sony published game. We’re guessing that Sony is plotting a compromise around this for all 2013 PS3 titles, so let’s hope we get some clarity on this in the coming weeks.

So much to discuss here folks – what’s your initial reaction to the ‘Orbis’? You may want to head to this official URL by Sony – it certainly is without a doubt the most promising PS4 rumor seen yet. No backwards compatibility with PS3 titles and no used game support though is controversial to say the least.

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Written by Alan Ng

Alan has been working for Product-Reviews since 2009 and became the Editor-in-chief in 2014. He has a passion for technology, the latest mobile phones and gadgets, and the gaming industry. Alan is a graduate of Canterbury Christ Church University and completed a B.A in Commercial Music in 2008. While expressing a keen interest in all areas that PR cover, you'll usually find Alan in the gaming section, where he'll be keeping enthusiasts up to date on all the latest news and reviews for consoles and PC.

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