A roundup of some of the best, well at least the most interesting, rumours for the PS4 and Xbox 720, (possibly) code-named Orbis and Durango, respectively
The rumour mills have been working overtime these past few weeks, with rumours abound for both Microsoft and Sony's next-gen consoles, neither of which are even due until Christmas ... of next year!
According to Kokatu, the next-gen Sony console will be codenamed 'Orbis', which in Latin, means "circle". The name itself seems innocent enough, but when you couple it with the Latin inspired PlayStation 'Vita', you get, roughly, "The circle of life".
Naming apart, the latest rumours say that Sony will be moving away from the Cell architecture that was such an integral part of the PS3. Instead, the new console will be based on a much more mainstream process, and AMD x64 based piece of kit. The graphics will be powered by a model from AMD's Southern Islands family of GPUs (the Radeon HD 7000's, for us consumer). The increased muscle-power will allow Orbis to play games at 4K resolution (or 4096x2160), that is if you can kind a TV that supports it. At the very least, 3D games will finally play at 1080p, if the 3D hype hasn't died out by then.
And "by then" would be Christmas of 2013, if the rumours are to be believed.
But PS3 owners who have built up an impressive library of games will be disappointed, as sources close to Kotaku says that backward compatibility is completely out.
And those who regularly take part in the used game trade, a scourge for gaming companies like Sony, will be equally disappointed. Orbis will disallow used games by employing a system that locks each purchased disc to an unique PSN account, with a fee needed to unlock the same disc on another machine.
This last rumour perhaps have more truth to it than everything else simply due to the fact that Microsoft appears to be implementing the same strategy for their next-gen console, codenamed 'Durango'.
Durango, also expected to be on shelves just before Christmas 2013, similarly employs AMD technology for its graphic system. But instead of one GPU, the latest rumour posted by VG247 indicates there are actually two GPUs, both will also be from the Southern Islands family.
But while Orbis will use a mixture of Blu-ray discs and PSN downloads (available for even full retail titles), the method of game distribution for Durango is a bit more foggy. A rumour just a couple of weeks ago suggested Microsoft's next-gen console won't even have a disc drive, relying solely on downloads and via some type of solid state storage. But this week, Blu-ray is back on the agenda, and so the status quo changes back to what it was when rumours of the new system first surfaced in January. The rumour that "Kinect 2" will be built in to the console, stays unchanged.
A bit more controversial is the copy protection system Durango may deploy. Taking a leaf out of Ubisoft's book, an "always-on" Internet connection may be required to authenticate the legitimacy of your gaming session, something that will surely annoy gamers.