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We may be months away from an official announcement, but gaming enthusiast website Kotaku has unearthed some interesting nuggets on the system that will replace Sony's PS3.
An unidentified yet previously reliable source tells the website that the new PlayStation console won't be called PS4. Sony is going with the name Orbis, and that's a smart move.
Sony may have owned the video game market when its original PlayStation turned heads, but these days Sony is a distant third behind market leader Xbox 360 and the family-friendly Wii.
While the Wii U will likely hit the market later this year, Sony fans will have to wait quite a bit longer. The source claims that Sony is hoping to release the Orbis in time for next year's holiday shopping season.
The specs provided should be taken with a grain of gaming salt. If the release is a year and a half away, you can be sure that Sony will tweak its console depending on Nintendo's success with the Wii U and whatever's working for Microsoft.
For now, the plan apparently is to go with a high-end Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD ) chip that's powerful enough to render 3-D games in 1080p.
Two controversial features
There are two controversial features reportedly in the works with Orbis.
For starters, the system won't be backward-compatible with earlier PlayStation games. Players still smitten with PS, PS2, or PS3 games by the time that the Orbis comes out are going to have to keep both consoles hooked up.
That's going to be a deal-breaker for some gamers.
The more controversial move is that Orbis will reportedly not play secondhand games. In a shot at Gamefly, Coinstar's Redbox, and other video-game rental services, games on disc will be locked into the original Orbis gaming account. GameStop (NYSE: GME ) -- which runs a thriving resale business -- isn't going to like this one bit, either.
This will be an even bigger deal-breaker. Gamers who bake in the price of what they can get in trade-in value for games that they have completed won't be happy paying full price for Orbis titles that they're essentially stuck with.
Again, the 2013 holiday shopping season is still far away. Sony has plenty of time to make sure that its next console system won't be its last.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of GameStop and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Nintendo and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft and writing covered calls on GameStop.