The next PlayStation is to be called Orbis and will go on sale in time for Christmas 2013, with test consoles already in the possession of select game developers according to gaming site Kotaku.

Publishing a thorough report of everything it has been told from reliable sources, Kotaku has lifted the lid on several PlayStation 4 features, including a safeguard which would lock new games to a single PSN account, potentially ending the second-hand game market.

PS 4 Concept
A concept of what the PlayStation Orbis might look like

Kotabu says: "For one, the console's name - or at least its codename/working title - is apparently Orbis. And it's being planned for release in time for the 2013 holiday season." The website goes on to explain that Orbit is Latin for circle, ring or orbit, and when combined with Sony's new handheld, the PS Vita, Orbis Vita means 'The circle of life'.

This could all be a coincidence, or at most a play on words before the PS4 gets a real name, but it does suggest that the Orbis and Vita will form a gaming and entertainment package and work together as one system.

Away from the name, Kotabu's sources claim that the PlayStation Orbis will go on sale in time for Christmas 2013, seven years after the PS3 first arrived in Japan and North America, and that "select developers" have been receiving development kits for the new console since the start of 2012, with more finalised kits due to be sent towards the end of the year.

The PlayStation 3 initially supported playback of older PS2 games, but this feature was soon dropped, much to the disappointment of gamers who were unable to play older games. For the PlayStation Orbis Sony is believed to be following the same route of dropping backwards compatibility with PS3 games.

Furthermore, Kotabu believes that the PlayStation 4 will not allow second hand games to be played without the user paying a fee to Sony to unlock the game and register it to their PlayStation Network account.

New games will be registered with the first Orbis console they are played on, then cannot be played on any other until the fee is paid - as far as Kotaku believes, at least. Depending on the size of this unlocking fee, Sony could well cast doubts over the future of trading in games to shops like the struggling Game Group and GameStop in the US.

Finally, the gaming site's sources claim that the next-generation PlayStation Orbis will be powered by an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Island GPU which will display games at a resolution of 4096 x 2160 - more than double that of most current HD televisions.

Kotabu also believes the Orbis will be able to play 3D games at 1080p, with the PS3 can only display 3D content at the lesser 720p.

The PlayStation Orbis will go up against Microsoft's next-generation games console, dubbed Xbox 720 but thought to be called Xbox Loop, which is thought to be smaller and cheaper than the current 360 console.

Both will be beaten to market by Nintendo's Wii U, which is expected to go on sale by the end of 2012, featuring a touchscreen tablet controller and much improved graphics over the underpowered Nintendo Wii.