PlayStation 4 talk is once again ramping up, and the latest rumor reinforces the notion that next-gen consoles could very well block consumers from playing used titles. A new Kotaku report cites "a reliable source who is not authorized to talk publicly about next-gen hardware but has shared correct information with us before" and states that the PS4 will actually be named Orbis.
It's not clear if this is a codename or not, but the report leans in the direction that it's actually a real name, not an internal label like Microsoft's Durango for the next Xbox. It's worth noting that orbis.scedev.net does exist, and it was the Vita dev.net website that originally revealed that name for Sony's new portable.
Kotaku's source also reveals several pieces of key information: Orbis will not be backwards compatible with PS3, it should be launching on time for holiday 2013 ("select developers" have been receiving dev kits since the beginning of this year), and most importantly the new hardware will be designed to block used titles from playing.
If true, that last part will raise many an eyebrow. The report notes that new Orbis games would ship either on a Blu-ray disc or as a PSN download, and if you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account, enabling you to play the game, save the whole game to your HDD, or label it as "downloaded" in your account history (making it free to download at a later date if needed).
Then, if you trade that disc in, the customer buying the used game will be restricted in some way. Kotaku says "it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game."
Additionally, playing a game will require being online - similar to many PC games today, you'll need to have a PSN account and be online to get started.
Finally, the rumored specs on the device: AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU.
Interestingly, the latter would mean that Orbis games could be displayed at a stunning resolution of up to 4096x2160; this is a resolution far beyond current HDTV sets. It'll also improve the 3D games resolution, bumping it up from PS3's 720p to a full 1080p.
Remember, this is all rumor for now, but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on. We'll fill you in as we obtain more information.