Looks like it’s time for the next-generation of gaming consoles to finally hit the market. According to a report by Wall Street Journal, Sony might be unveiling its next-gen console, known in development circles as the Orbis, on February 20. WSJ reports that the company will be putting the console up for sale later this year. Sony has also released a teaser video that quite clearly mentions that something related to the PlayStation brand will be revealed on February 20.

According to the WSJ, both the PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s next console will be going head-to-head during the holiday season. The report also states that Sony will “incorporate more social gaming aspects into the new machine.” The company is said to be more focused on “changes in how users interact with the machine,” rather than beefing up the specs. This could mean that Sony has taken a look at the Xbox 360 with the Kinect, and how Microsoft has made motion-control and voice recognition a normal part of navigation in the 360’s menus.

However, this does run contrary to what Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai had said during CES. Hirai stated, “It's a ten-year life cycle. There is no reason to go away from that.” This basically means that the PS3 will still be a viable platform as late as 2015. Keep in mind that the PS2 is still an important platform for Sony, especially in countries like India where the console sells a lot, despite the fact that it was launched back in 2000, giving it a thirteen-year life cycle. It all seems like an elaborate red herring on Sony’s part.

It would have been foolish to assume that the company hadn't started work on the PS4 in some respect, as according to earlier reports, developers have gotten their hands on the developer kits for the console. Sony may be trying to keep the progress of the console under wraps, if for no other reason than to build up hype.

A concept of what the PlayStation 4 may look like

We hope it doesn't look like this concept of the PS4

Sony may also be waiting for Microsoft to make its move first. Recently, CEO of PlayStation France, Phillipe Cardone said that Sony would probably be the last company to announce a new console. On the flip side of the coin, Microsoft France’s Cedrick Delmas said, “The Xbox 360’s cycle is not over at all.”  This may very well cause a stalemate between the two companies, with Nintendo reaping profits thanks to its recent launch of the Wii U.

Back in November, developers started getting their hands on the new version of the PS4 dev kit, codenamed the Orbis. There are set to be four versions of the Orbis kit being shipped to developers. A previous version was essentially a graphics card, the newest version is a “modified PC,” and the third version will be the closest to the final specifications and will be sent to developers this month.

The Orbis is said to be based on the AMD A10 APU series. An APU – which stands for Accelerated Processing Unit – is a combination of a GPU and a CPU. The PS4’s hardware is based on the A10 system and base platform. One of the biggest changes coming to the system is in the form of the interface. The new interface will allow you to go anywhere while playing a game. This is not possible in the PlayStation 3 as some options require you to exit the game before using them. An example given was buying DLC from the PlayStation Store in the middle of playing a game and then seamlessly returning to play.

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