The Next PlayStation Is Called Orbis, Sources Say. Here Are The Details.

While the official reveal of Sony's next home console could still be months away, if not longer, Kotaku has today learned some important details concerning the PlayStation 3's successor.

For one, the console's name -- or at least its codename/working title -- is apparently Orbis. And it's being planned for release in time for the 2013 holiday season.

The details in this story come from a reliable source who is not authorised to talk publicly about next-gen hardware but has shared correct information with us before. What they're telling us in specifics matches much of what we've heard and reported in generalities in recent weeks.


Orbis. Say it out loud. Sounds a little like the word "four", doesn't it? Only it doesn't make the next PlayStation sound like a bad horror movie sequel.

It's also a name loaded with meaning. The word "Orbis" itself, from Latin, means circle, or ring, or even orbit. Not terribly helpful. Combine it with the name of Sony's new handheld system, though, and you have the common term Orbis Vita (or, in strict Latin, Orbis Vitae). Which means "The circle of life". Could the Vita be playing a very important role in the development and use of the next PlayStation home console? Maybe!

Such symbolism also suggests that rather than being a codename, like most companies employ when still developing a console (think NGP, or Durango), this might actually be the machine's final name. We don't know that, though, so keep an open mind about things.

Type in and you arrive at Sony's portal for Vita developers. Same with, referencing the former codename for the Vita. The PS4 version of that address gets you nowhere. PS3 does, as does, though not to any Orbis-specific portions of the site.


  • Is called, or at least carries the working codename, "Orbis".
  • Is scheduled for a Holiday 2013 release.
  • Won't be backwards compatible with PS3 games.
  • Will lock new games to a PSN account as an anti-used games measure.
  • New games can be bought either on Blu-Ray or downloaded.
  • Current specs are an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU


Our main source supplied some basic specs for the console, but as the future is always in motion, bear in mind these could easily change between now and the Orbis' retail release. Still, if you'd like to know what developers are being told to plan for now, here you go.

  • AMD x64 CPU
  • AMD Southern Islands GPU
  • The former, that's largely something we've heard before, but the latter is interesting. That's the name given to many of AMD's 2012 roster of high-end PC cards. The PS4's GPU in particular, we're told, will be capable of displaying Orbis games at a resolution of up to 4096x2160, which is far in excess of the needs of most current HDTV sets. It'll also be capable of playing 3D games in 1080p (the PS3 could only safely manage 3D at 720p).


    Our main source tell us that "select developers" have been receiving dev kits for the new console since the beginning of this year. Revised and improved versions of these kits were sent out around GDC, while more finalised beta units will be shipped to developers towards the end of 2012.

    That should hopefully give developers plenty of time to have launch games ready for the Orbis' retail release, which will be in time for the 2013 holiday season. If you can remember the PS3 launch -- it's OK if you can't, it was a while ago -- that too was in time for the holiday shopping season (November 2006 for Japan and North America).


    Remember how the PlayStation 3 swiftly dropped the ability to play PS2 games? Well, our main source tell us the Orbis won't even bother, and that Sony has no plans to offer backwards compatibility for its existing catalogue of PS3 games.


    BACK IN DECEMBER... A post left on Pastebin back in December also referred to the PlayStation 4 as Orbis, calling it a codename in the same vein as Microsoft's Durango. The system specs in that post differ significantly from what Kotaku has heard, and the lack of a hard drive by default goes against the idea of downloading full games to the system.

    The Pastebin post also mentions that big name developers like EA were disappointed by an Orbis much less powerful than Microsoft's next machine, so there's a chance that it's the story of an earlier prototype that didn't make the grade. We've reached out to EA for comment.

    Just like the next Xbox/Durango, we've heard from multiple sources that the Orbis will likewise have some kind of anti-used games measures built into the console. Here's how our main source says it's currently shaping up: new games for the system will be available one of two ways, either on a Blu-Ray disc or as a PSN download (yes, even full retail titles). If you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account, after which you can play the game, save the whole thing to your HDD, or peg it as "downloaded" in your account history and be free to download it at a later date.

    Don't think you can simply buy the disc and stay offline, though; like many PC games these days, you'll need to have a PSN account and be online to even get the thing started.

    If you then decide to trade that disc in, the pre-owned customer picking it up will be limited in what they can do. While our sources were unclear on how exactly the pre-owned customer side of things would work, it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game.

    This would allow used games to continue to be sold at outlets such as GameStop, while also appeasing major publishers who would no longer have to implement their own haphazard approaches to "online passes".

    -- -

    That's all we've got for you at the moment. Remember, none of this information is confirmed, and even the information that is locked down in March 2012 may change before the console's eventual release. This is just what we've been told Sony is working on and planning for as of today. That being the case, how do you think it's shaping up?


    Not happy at all Sony. I've been a big supporter of your gaming consoles since the PSX but why do you keep removing essential features like BC and this always online requirement is a big headache for people who live in countries with crappy internet connection (i.e. Australia) or rely on WiFi? I seriously hope this is all hogwash because these features are terrible.

    It's a little too close to April 1st for me to take rumours as gospel.


    I've been calling the next Xbox for a late Q3 and no later than Christmas 2013. Makes sense that Sony would aim for about here as well, regardless of what they said about a ten year life span for the PS3. Technically the PS2 has had a more than 10 year lifespan since it's still being supported, so I don't know why people seriously thought we wouldn't see a PS4 until 2015.

    That said, I won't be buying a PS4. I went from being a PS2 fan who happened to own an Xbox to a Xbox 360 fan who kind of regrets buying a PS3. I've seriously considered selling it but I'm concerned it's so full of dust and prone to breaking down that it would be negligent of me to ask someone else to actually give me money for it. Plus I have a few blu-ray movies I might watch again some day. Funny, a couple of years ago it looked like Blu-ray won the format war against HDDVD, but digital media distribution is progressing faster than I would've thought, so we can probably kiss Blu-ray goodbye as a viable movie format in ~3 years.

    Back on topic, I just don't want a PS4. Maybe next gen I'll upgrade my PC instead of buying a console I won't use. The whole "won't allow pre-owned" doesn't even factor into it. Rumour has it the next Xbox will do something similar but I'll still buy one of those.

    I realise all this is Rumour. But it is a little worrying.
    No backwards compatibility, Locking down games to one account. Effectively KILLING many gaming stores who's MAIN source of income is "Trade and Save" Games.

    I used to argue black and blue with PC Gamers, as to why I switched to Console gaming late last generation. It seemed that PC was for lone gamers, people who sit at home, and play with friends in a virtual space. They have their own copies of games, their own accounts. And all interaction is done through virtual means. (except Lan cafe's and parties) Consoles? Back then they just seemed more... social :\ Nowadays, apart from the obvious hardware, and mouse and keybaord. I see really no difference between the two. Aside from the fact that MOST AAA games are developed on consoled, for consoles. Then ported to PC. The digital means for purchasing games is almost the same now. Many devs dont do splitscreen anymore. Locked accounts. So many games focusing on online play instead of storyline and playing depth. Its a shame... And DLC! Oh god DLC. You break my Mutherflipping heart.

    If these rumours and leaks come to fruition however, ill be seriously considering buying another PC rig. Ill still own a Orbis, and even a Durango. (Eat a peepee WiiU) But I wont be amassing collections of games on console like I do now. (currently own about 140 PS3 games)

    blablabla consoles zzz

    Buy a PC

      What kind of useless comment is that? I own a PS3 and a powerful PC, but what good is a PC when the games i want are console only?

    AMD? Really? Lets hope the CPU they use is better than the current processors. At least it can't be any worse than Cell, what a dud that was.

    Fuck game stop/eb, AMD/Sony? awesome, Backwards compatible 2006 60gb PS3 aint going any where but I was waiting for a new console to catch up to my PC. 4k TVs are available for sale in Japan have been for weeks. Every one will need a PS4 to take advantage of 4k. Looking forward to it.

    Sorry, I have to call BS on this one. Think it through. At 1080p resolutions, games like wipeout are already at 17Gb. At 4096×2160, the textrues have to be significantly upscaled, which means much larger art assets, and since games are primarly art files in size, this means blowouts to VERY large download files for games like Uncharted and FF13.

    So I would have to say, you cant have both ALL games as downloads AND super high res, given the internet speeds in most countries. I know telstra (Australia) internet times me out trying to download Wipeout in one shot.

    ps1 was awesome.
    ps2 was awesome.
    ps3 is good (could have been awesome if backwards compatible).
    ps4 sounds like a big bag of suck.

    In what world does Orbis, sound even remotely like Four!!

    I blame Nintendo for starting this trend of shit names for consoles, and I deplore Sony for conforming to said trend.

    There's so much wrong with this business model that I will not be buying one if it's remotely like this.

    No backwards compatibility?!!? That ludicrous! Every console to date as had backward comparability!
    I remember stuffing my old Nintendo cartridges into my super Nes and it working just fine! Even when I put both into my N64!

    All systems are backwards compatible aren't they? *winks*

    Hold up. People are saying that this is no different to Steam? The big difference between this and Steam is that Steam is an entirely digital copy. Buying physical media and having that locked to a single account seems really off to me.

    backwards compatibility doesn't bother me but the single accounts do.
    i am not an apple fan boy but that is the one thing i think they do better than everyone else.
    if i have an account, i can then link multiple devices to it my phone, my wifes phone and an ipad etc can all be linked, all run the same software BUT all have your own personal settings and saves and i only need to pay ONCE. I do believe that the win 8 app store is going to work this way as well

    maybe if sony and microsoft introduced something like a master account which can then have a certain amount of children accounts below it that are all able access games and media belonging to the master account.

    i personally have 3 xbox 360s in my house and moving profiles around is a pain.
    i am never going to buy 3 copies of an arcade game to play it on each machine (i know that's not necessary right now)

    So much for the very excellent 7 day return policy from EB and GAME then. If I buy a crap game I'm stuck with it. I really liked that guarantee of not shittiness and will probably not take risks on anything other than AAAs anymore :(

    Could it be that Sony is simply avoiding the number 4 which the Japanese don't like since it's sounds like Death (Shi)?

    Like hell I'm tethering an Orbis to my phone just to play single player games... Like hell I'd buy one even.

    This news is a little to surreal for my liking though . With E3 not to far away and a possible 720 unveiling, which may have locked games as well. I wouldn't be surprised if this story were fabricated to force Sony to make a move this year and announce something. Or even if Sony don't, just to make the new Xbox look better.

    Well we can only hope... If that's not the case though, move over Geohotz as I know what I'll be doing in my spare time once I start Studying Computer Science at uni in 2014.

    Yeah, I call bull until a real announcement is made. Gaming journalism on upcoming consoles is less than reliable. Like, the discless "Xbox 720".

    The no second hand implementation is to ensure developers continue to make money. If they dont implement this, we might as well not bother making next gen consoles. Developers, believe it or not do need money to fund their families and their lives. Not to mention contiunue making games. It's not good for the consumer money wise, but it will be eventually. Games will become cheaper, but there will be more copies of them made. Eventually we will all benefit from this.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now