News has broken out from an anonymous source within Sony and reported by Kotaku that the PS4, designated Orbis, will be released towards the end of 2013/early 2014. While specs currently unclear and subject to change, the current buzz is that it will be an AMD processor along with a 28nm family Radeon GPU. This should be a significant boost to the current PS3 specs–as long as Sony doesn’t overcomplicate things like they did with their Cell architecture and wind up with an overpriced, underperforming (compared to what was expected) gaming platform. It has also been changed to an x64 architecture, which goes against previous whispers of x86 only, but we will see once development is underway. The GPU will be powerful enough to display 4096×2160 resolution and 1080p 3D, both of which should provide plenty of eye candy for those willing to buy it. This will also be a huge deal for AMD, which will be manufacturing parts for both the Orbis and the XBOX 720. The platform seems like it would be a perfect match with AMD’s Trinity platform, but with the Radeon 7900 chips, which would seem ideal for a smaller profile platform. What is exciting is that it seems with the latest sketches to have a smartphone interface with a PlayStation eye accessory on top. I see only compatibility issues with this kind of technology; however, if Sony can make it work I think it would be a very worthwhile feature to have. It would be expected that there will be some kind of motion detection interface as well. Time will play out on how the PS3 and the XBOX 360 will develop as the release date draws nearer.
Once again, however, there seem to be some drawbacks to this new platform in the form of DRM to prevent the sale of used games and once again no backwards compatibility to play PS3 games. The DRM will be on par with the XBOX720 in that there will be very limited game play for used games until you register the game with your PSN account. No doubt this is to ensure the security of income for publishers and developers for these two platforms and to halt the huge loss of revenue in the used games marker a la Gamestop, Ebay, and Amazon. I feel though that there should be a way to share games via account to account at least, similar to the way Steam works currently with game gifting. This will make it more difficult for “hacking” the platform to play downloaded games as well. It is not surprising that there will be no backwards compatibility either, as there was no PS2 compatibility for the PS3 due to the complexity of programming for the platform.
There you have it–a basic outline of the PS4. Those of you with XBOX360 and PS3 will be able to enjoy another year or two before the next platform comes our way.