PlayStation 4 'Orbis' could rewrite the rules for used games

Sony will release its next console – the PlayStation 4, code-named 'Orbis' – in 2013, according to a new report. 

A Sony PS4, codenamed Orbis, is reportedly on the way. Here, a Sony display at the 2012 CES show in Las Vegas.

Sony is refusing to comment, but according to one new report, a successor to the PlayStation 3 is already in the works, and on target for a late 2013 launch. Citing anonymous sources familiar with the new console, the gaming blog Kotaku has published a preliminary run-down on the PlayStation 4, which has allegedly been slapped with the codename of Orbis. 

Among the purported specs on the Orbis: a resolution of 4096x2160, which, as Kotaku notes, is "far in excess of the needs of most current HDTV sets." The Orbis – or PS4, if you'd like – will "also be capable of playing 3D games in 1080p. Some game studios may have already received development kits for the Orbis; "more finalised beta units will be shipped" by the end of the year, Kotaku adds. 

But the most interesting revelation has to do with a crack-down on used games. Games for the new console will reportedly be available as a PlayStation Network download or as a disc. But "[I]f 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," Kotaku writes. 

This would, of course, drastically affect the used game market: You can't trade-in a downloaded game, nor would anyone want to buy a second-hand game that's already been "locked" to another account. So is Sony actually considering taking a similar approach with its next console? Maybe, Ian Paul writes over at PC World

"While these are only claims from anonymous sources at this point," Paul writes, "the idea that console makers are looking to destroy or at least restrict the second-hand gaming and rental market is not surprising. The move could push more users toward using Sony's PSN Store to download game titles." 

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