A new version of the Orbis “PlayStation 4″ development kit has begun shipping to developers according to anonymous sources and from what we can tell it’s more based on standard PC technology than something proprietary and “revolutionary” like that used in the PS3.
The core of the computer is based on an AMD A10 APU, making for an integrated graphics based console. It will have either 8GB or 16GB RAM and mass storage will be 256GB of either HDD or SSD. A Blu-ray drive will also be present and correct, as you might expect. There will be another version of the development kit shipping in January which will be close to final spec, along with a final version “next summer”. The hardware’s ultimate goal will be to run games at 1080p at 60Hz and in 3D with “no problem”. It appears that Sony has used PC technology to reduce the price of the console, while also ensuring that it still has decent performance.
The user interface has been enhanced and now allows gamers to press the PS button in the middle of a game and travel “anywhere” on the system, which sounds intriguing. For example, a gamer could buy DLC in mid-game from the PS Store and then seamlessly return to it. Controller pad details have not been revealed, but details are expected this month. Orbis is expected to be announced at an event “just before E3″ next year.
The console will be designed to “always be in standby mode” and allow for product updates to be downloaded in the background, which can be switched off if the user wishes to.
So, the latest and greatest hot gaming machine from Sony will be based on integrated graphics?! Doesn’t sound like such a great gaming machine to me. On the other hand, the same games should port well to the PC platform, since the technology used will be very similar, hopefully requiring only relatively minor tweaks to take full advantage of the vastly more powerful PC hardware. Now, if they allow for discreet PCI-E graphics card upgrades in the new machine, then that might make for something interesting. Note that this last point is pure speculation on my part and shouldn’t be taken as a prediction.
The machine has WiFi and Ethernet connectivity and HDMI out. Our source said the was “no difference” between PlayStation 3 and Orbis input/output.