There’s currently a rumor going around that the new PS4 will be called the Orbis, that several versions are currently in the hands of developers, and that the specs are not what we’ve all been expecting. While these rumors should be treated as just that—rumors—they are being confirmed by multiple sources, so it’s worth taking an in-depth look at the machine. The most surprising element of this new device is its specs—and specifically, that the console will run on AMD’s A10 APU series. This is not the same state-of-the-art-technology that we’ve come to expect from Sony, but it does say one thing about the next system—rather than being a phenomenal machine, it will simply be a powerful machine with competitive pricing.
With a console that will be based primarily on AMD components, Sony is likely to pump out consoles for a cheaper price than any of their previous consoles at launch. The chip might not be the best, but it would place the Orbis beyond the abilities of the Wii U and comfortably into next-generation graphics territory. The cheap price means more customers than ever will be willing to purchase the console at launch, and it will possibly spare the Orbis the same fate as the PS3 (which, while an amazing machine, simply didn’t compete with Microsoft and Nintendo’s consoles as Sony hoped it would). Depending on how cheap the console is manufactured and how breathtaking the first games on it look, the Orbis’s launch should reinvigorate Sony’s presence in the industry and define itself as a leading console of the next generation.
While a cheaper console is wonderful and all, there is one thing suspicious about this rumor. Apparently one of the goals with Orbis is to run 1080p60 games seamlessly, with no lag or downgraded graphics to make up for the processing demand. With just and AMD A10 APU, this is unlikely to be a possibility; However, if the machine would contain multiple graphics chips rather than just the AMD card, the combined power would be enough to run those graphics. While unconventional, having multiple graphics chips isn’t impossible and might even cut down on the costs of manufacturing a high-end product. Having two graphics chips also allows the machine to run on less power, as having only one chip active for lower-end games would decrease the energy demand.
Along with that, something wonderful comes with the new AMD processor: and increased ability for developers to use the machine. Developers will be very familiar with AMD components and should have a much easier time developing for the Orbis (or whatever Sony ends up calling it). Although the graphics may not be as breathtaking as we’d hoped for next generation, they are still incredibly powerful for a product still in testing. With more developer incentive to program for the Orbis than the PS3 ever had, this will hopefully herald yet another generation of gaming rife with competition between the major companies and the groundbreaking games that result from it.