PlayStation 4 Supposedly Called ‘Orbis’

PlayStation 4 Supposedly Called ‘Orbis’

It seems that all this ‘Next Xbox’ chatter has forced Sony to forego its originally planned ten year life cycle.

Equal parts and shocking and exciting, Kotaku has uncovered some rather intriguing information regarding the next console in Sony’s PlayStation lineup. Most of you may have bet your life’s savings, myself included, that the next PlayStation would have been called the PlayStation and 4 and that would have been a fairly safe bet. However, you’d probably end up penniless, lying in a gutter  if these rumors turn out to be true.

Rather sketchy details have been released/leaked regarding a Sony console in development dubbed ‘Orbis,’ and it’s apparently being planned for a retail release sometime during the 2013 holiday season.

Many systems embody a code name during their development phase including Codename: Dolphin (Gamecube),  Codename: Atlantis (Gameboy Advance), Codename: Nitro (Nintendo DS), CodenameL Marz (Microsoft Xbox), and so on, but despite sounding rather codename-y, Orbis is rumored to be the console’s final launch name.

The PlayStation Orbit

So why the name? If we take the Eric Pederson literal approach to translating words – which rarely works and is probably why I am largely unable to communicate with anyone when I go to Mexico – the word ‘Orbis’ sounds a heck of a lot like the word orbit. The PlayStation Orbit? But that doesn’t really make any sense, does it? Thankfully, foreign languages exist to help make our own language sound more exotic and exciting. Mesa Verde wouldn’t sound nearly as enticing if it were simple called Green Table, now would it? I digress…

Now, the other thing that must be considered is that although Orbis may mean orbit in Latin, that term can be used to refer to a number of other things including ring, circle, disk, coil, rotate, etc. So that pretty much leaves us with nothing. That’s where Kotaku’s Luke Plunkett put to use his vast knowledge of both addition and dead languages and combined Orbis with Sony’s most recent portable system, the Vita. The result: ‘Orbis Vita’. Loosely translated, that means “Circle of Life”.  Looks like the Vita and the new system are going to be working pretty closely with one another.

All this symbolism sure sounds a bit ethereal for a console that we’ll most likely being mowing down hookers and and waging fictional wars on, but it’s still quite creative. Additionally, this seems to lend credibility to the fact that Orbis is not a codename and could quite possibly be the consoles final launch name.

Kotaku also noted that there exists a link containing the word Orbis that leads to a Sony development page.

But who cares about the name, am I right? After all, the Wii was wildly successful and had one of the most off-the-wall names in gaming history, so who’s to say the Orbis won’t be the same?

You’re Going to Need a Bigger House

Kotaku’s main source – who remained unnamed, but reportedly reliable – dropped some very temporary specs including an AMD x64 CPU along with the upcoming high-end PC cards referred to as the AMD Southern Islands GPU. Additionally, and for reasons still unknown, the Orbis will capable of displaying resolutions up to 4096×2160 as well as displaying 3D in a full 1080p as opposed to the current 720p. If that is all greek to you, let me shed some light on the situation.

Super HD

See that light blue box above? That’s your 50 inch TV displaying full 1080p. Right now, no TV exists on the market capable of displaying resolutions higher than that. Why? In a word, cost. Also, higher resolutions require much larger screens, and, regardless of how much they insist they do, most people don’t necessarily have  room in their house to cram a 200 inch TV.

But if you look at that larger green box you’ll notice the dimensions listed there appear to be exactly the same as those listed by the Orbis; dimensions that are typically reserved for Digital Cinema and offer up some of the best in movie going entertainment.

So if those dimensions are impossible to enjoy in home on our current sets, why would Sony even bother including them? Well, Sony does have a history of future proofing its machines. The PS3 adopted Blu-Ray well before it was the clear, industry standard as well as incorporating wireless, eventually, into every system released. Swappable hard drives also made increasing storage capacity as the years went by much easier and allowed more freedom of choice for the users. So, this could simply be Sony’s way of predicting the future of in-home entertainment and making sure the PlayStation is ready for it, because if even if Sony releases this thing with a 10 year life cycle, this could be the last Sony console we see for the next 10-15 years.

So Where’s the Proof?

I’m always a bit giddy with these announcements, but there needs to be some proof to back this up. Well, apparently Sony has been issuing dev kits to developers since the beginning of this year with full beta units reported to be sent out around the end of the year.If this thing is already in the hands of developers, there has to be some nugget of truth to the whole thing.

Sticking it to the Man.

Just like we reported awhile back on the latest NextBox rumors, the Orbis will apparently be bidding a fond farewell to used games and ushering in an era where people are forced to actually give money to the people who make the games. Shocking, I know. Since Sony has yet to embrace an entirely digital platform, games will be available as either a retail disc or a digital download from the PSN (SEN). There has been much speculation as to how a disc based game could be linked to one system, but the Orbis is said to require all disc based games to be locked to a single PSN account. After that is done, the title can then be played from the disc, stored on the hard drive, or pegged as “downloaded” in your account history for future downloading.

Unfortunately, similar to the current PC trend, you will need to be connected to the internet through your PSN account in order to play games.

No More Mooching

Sony isn’t out to directly destroy the used games market – although that may just end up being collateral damage – and as such, it’s still largely unknown how used gaming on the Orbis will work. It could be that used games will be limited to a trial mode and require some sort of fee paid directly to the publisher in order to unlock the full version of the game. This may be a first party approach to the currently annoying online passes that plague so many games these days.

So, what’s your take? Does the Orbis sound like it’s headed in the right direction or are you completely content hanging out on your PS3 for another 5 years? Before you fly off the handle on a fanboy rage or some sort of picketing campaign, stop and think about this. Every console has to be developed to embrace the future and as well all know, the future changes and so must our technology. Some of these changes may sound utterly ridiculous, but so did downloading patches and DLC when they were first announced, but look at how commonplace that has become now.

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