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By 29 March 2012 | Categories: news

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More rumours have emerged about the PlayStation 4, that if true, may leave PlayStation fans glad the PlayStation 3 will not be replaced this year.
 
According to gaming website, Kotaku, a “credible source” has revealed that Sony’s next console will be named Orbis, and pack both a CPU and a GPU courtesy of AMD, that will be able to offer display resolutions up to 4096 x 2160.
 
This is in line with earlier reports that Sony was opting for an AMD heart for its next console. Orbis is apparently slated for a release next year, to coincide with the holiday season.
 
One step forward, two steps backward?
 
However, it is other details of the console’s features that may leave users more than willing to wait.
 
For example, Kotaku cites its tipster as alleging that Orbis won’t offer backward compatibility for PS3 titles. This is certainly feasible, as Sony dropped backward compatibility for PS2 titles from subsequent iterations of its PS3 after its launch.
 
More disturbing is that apparently Orbis will be far more hostile to used games. Kotaku elaborates that users will either be able to buy games on a Blu-Ray disc or via Sony’s PlayStation Network (PSN).
 
Physical discs though, will then need to be locked to a single PSN account. This will mean that before games can be played, they would have to be authenticated online, and users will require an internet connection at the time before they can begin playing.
 
While used discs will still be able to be bought, apparently such pre-owned games will function in some sort of limited capacity until users pay an extra fee to register the game with their PSN account.   
 
If the rumours are to be believed, Sony would not be alone in its hostile stance towards the used or trade-in market. Earlier this year, Kotaku indicated that Microsoft was reportedly in the process of exploring how to block its next Xbox (codenamed Durango) from playing used titles.
 
The good news
 
The good news is that at this point Kotaku’s assertions are largely rumour, and as such need to be taken with a pinch of salt. Sony has declined to comment, confirm or deny the allegations, which means we’ll have to wait and see whether they become fact.
 
To us though, it all sounds very controlling and draconian. If implemented, we could easily envision an outcry from the gaming community come next year.
 
However, it may also be a storm in a teacup. Paul Raines, the chief executive officer of GameStop, a large retail store in the US that specialises in used and new games, puts little faith in the rumours.
 
According to DigitalTrends, Raines is quoted as saying that he doesn’t believe the Xbox 720, PlayStation 4, or Wii U will block used games, pointing out that used video games have a residual value. The company certainly has a stake in whether or not Sony and Microsoft pursues this course of action; it generates $1.2 billion of trade credits with its used games model. 
 
To the point
 
Both Sony and Microsoft would do well to take heed of the collective power that users currently wield. The clearest recent indication of the influence exerted by a large number of fans can be seen in the recent outcry against the Mass Effect 3 conclusion, which prompted the developers to offer further downloadable content to appease players.

While competing companies may have very different strategies to capture market share, of one thing we’re sure they will agree: alienating your customers is never good for business.   

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