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The Next-Gen Console Battle: Microsoft Kryptos vs. Sony Thebes?

Not a week goes by that there isn’t a new rumor about what a Microsoft or Sony next-gen console, colloquially referred to as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720, will be when they hit the market. Multi-core processors, Blu-ray disc drives, anti-piracy systems that detect fingerprints to verify identity, VR headsets, holographic projection systems; the sky is the limit when it comes to the next round of consoles from Microsoft and Sony if anonymous industry sources and patents are to be believed. What’s not clear, though, is what these machines are actually called. Codenames like Microsoft Durango and Sony’s Orbis have bounced around for months. Are those guarantees?

When last we checked in on Sony’s next machine, word on the street is that Sony is not going to call the console PlayStation 4. The reason given is that the Japanese word for 4, “shi,” is also the word for death which wouldn’t exactly be a runaway branding success for Sony’s home country. Though Sony is still referring to the device as Orbis to developers working on early games, that may not be the final name either. SemiAccurate’s sources (via VG247) claim that the current codename for the fourth-generation PlayStation is Thebes. Not exactly a name that rolls of the tongue, but neither does PS Vita.

Regardless or not Thebes is the final name, we may not see the machine release until 2014. While most rumors peg both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720 for Christmas 2013, there are hints that Sony is holding off. SemiAccurate’s sources say that the console won’t ship until spring or even fall 2014. SCE president Shuhei Yoshida said in November that it’s “too early to talk about the end of this generation of consoles.” Sony keeping the price of the new PlayStation 3 model above $250 certainly reinforces the belief that the console has another year on shelves to come.

What about that pesky Xbox 720 or Durango? Last we heard, Microsoft’s next high-end console will just be called “Xbox” and will ship alongside a low-end machine called Xbox TV. SemiAccurate’s sources inside Microsoft say that at least the codename has changed and that the console is now called Kryptos. Strange as that sounds, the source does confirm earlier reports that the console runs on an AMD-produced chip currently named Oban. There were hints earlier this fall that the Xbox 720 would also be delayed into 2014 due to Oban manufacturing problems.