Sony's PlayStation 4: What insiders are saying about 'Orbis' 

The Week

The Japanese electronics manufacturer is gearing up for a holiday 2013 release, and the new system may put your local GameStop out of business

When the PlayStation 3 debuted in November 2006, eager gamers camped outside of stores overnight to be among the first to get their hands on Sony's new flagship system. Now, with the console's successor rumored to be getting a holiday 2013 release, early details are leaking out, even though an official announcement is still likely several months away. Here, four things insiders are whispering about:

1. It might not be called PlayStation 4
Early word is that the next-generation PlayStation will be called the "Orbis." "It's a name loaded with meaning," says Luke Plunkett at Kotaku. "The word 'Orbis' itself, from Latin, means circle, ring, or even orbit." This sounds plausible: Sony's handheld gaming system is called "Vita," and when you combine the two, you get "the common term Orbis Vita (or, in strict Latin, Orbis Vitae)." This translates to "The Circle of Life."

SEE MORE: Sony's handheld PlayStation Vita: 'Relic or revolution'?

2. The visuals will blow your mind
The Orbis will reportedly support 3D games and a maximum screen resolution of 4096 x 2160, which is far above the current standard for high-definition televisions. "I know, you can't buy a TV or even a computer monitor that comes near that today," says Matt Peckham at TIME, "but maybe Sony's planning to make one." Such a move would, in theory, support the rumored holiday 2013 time frame. The electronics manufacturer could be looking to make a killing releasing a complementary ultra-high resolution 3D TV and a buzzy new gaming system at the same time.

3. It won't support old games
Remember how the PlayStation 3 was shamelessly incompatible with PS2 games, asks Plunkett. The same applies here: Sources say the Orbis "won't even bother, and that Sony has no plans to offer backwards compatibility for its existing catalog of PS3 games." Gamers attached to PS3 titles might want to hold onto their current rig.

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4. Orbis could kill the used-games market
Orbis games will reportedly be available either for download or purchase (in Blu Ray format). And these games, reports Plunkett, will be locked into a single account per user, which means that if a friend loaned you a game, you wouldn't be able to access the whole game, just a restricted version. This could "drastically affect the used game market," says Matthew Shaer at Christian Science Monitor. Stores like GameStop, which allow you to sell back or trade in old titles, will lose a ton of business. Indeed, says Chris Burns at Slashgear, such a scenario would cripple "game rental and sales services."

Sources: Christian Science Monitor, Kotaku, PC World, Slashgear, TIME

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