Even in the frigid depths of January, rumors regarding the next-generation are hotter than ever.
Monday saw a smorgasbord of specs and schematics leak, allegedly, for the Xbox 720; last week yielded hints at a new PlayStation 4 controller design, featuring an LCD touchscreen and biometric grip sensors; and on a day that began with an Xbox 720 Internet hoax — several outlets were hoodwinked into reporting on a phony “X-Surface” Xbox 720 tablet — a new report from Kotaku claims to divulge details on the PlayStation 4’s hardware specs, an innovative account management feature, and an all-new controller that would release alongside the traditional Dualshock 3 and Sixaxis models.
Kotaku cites a source using the alias of SuperDae — the same individual who, last August, attempted to sell Xbox 720 dev kits on Ebay and released a purported screenshot of Kinect 2.0. The information he provided stems from Sony PDFs — “official Orbis documentation” — outlining some of the more functional elements of the PlayStation 4’s hardware.
One element, of course, is system specifications. According to the report a new wave of Sony’s PS4 development kits has begun making the rounds, and the details below were dissected directly out the January 2013 model:
- System Memory: 8GB
- Video Memory: 2.2 GB
- CPU: 4x Dual-Core AMD64 “Bulldozer”
- GPU: AMD R10xx
- Ports: 4x USB 3.0, 2x Ethernet
- Drive: Blu-Ray
- HDD: 160GB
- Audio Output: HDMI & Optical, 2.0, 5.1 & 7.1 channels
160GB HDD space or 8GB of RAM may seem a bit unspectacular, but it’s important to consider the mercurial nature of dev kits. Past Orbis dev kits have shipped with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and the 160GB HDD actually pales in comparison to the 256GB units believed to have shipped last November.
More intriguing are Sony’s plans regarding the PlayStation 4’s controllers. Last week’s rumor foreshadowed the demise of the Dualshock — the end of the classic, button-laden analog thumbstick controller that’s remained largely unchanged since its inception with the PlayStation One — in place of a Vita-esque handheld boasting a wide, front-facing LCD touchscreen. But that was refuted today.
The report claims that Sony is creating a new controller, tentatively called the “Orbis Development Tool,” which features a rear-sided capacitive touchpad (identical to the Vita) but maintains a more traditional analog-and-button front side. The device will also incorporate improved tilt technology, vibration and an RGB LED light, and it will stand right alongside Sony’s Dualshock 3, Sixaxis and Move peripherals as viable controller options for the PS4. One curious addition — a “share button” — is unique to the Orbis Tool, though its intended purpose hasn’t been explained.
The final fragment of detail gleaned from the documents involves one of the first steps we all take after starting up the console: signing in. Currently, the PlayStation 3 operates on a strict basis of one console, one account signed in at a time. Even with a group of friends, with three or four controllers connected, only one user can access their SEN account. The Orbis aims to unify users, however, according to the report, which diagrams a method for simultaneous logins. It’s hardly revolutionary for gamers with an Xbox 360. But it’s a crucial step nonetheless to encourage more party-based gaming on the platform — now that everyone will get a trophy when they discover treasure in Uncharted 4 co-op, or when they nail a perfect 5-star duet in Just Dance 6.
As always — especially with official next-gen announcements anticipated for the near future — the details are unconfirmed, preliminary, and best taken with a grain of salt. That being said: sound off! What do you make of how the PlayStation 4 (or Orbis) appears to be shaping up?
Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.