Feb. 1, 2013 at 2:02 PM ET
While recent months have been awash in leaks and anonymous reports suggesting that Sony and Microsoft are gearing up to launch brand-new competing video game machines, it appears Sony will be the first to take the wraps off its next-generation console.
Sony on Thursday released a mysterious video that seems to be teasing the reveal date for its new PlayStation machine, which sources say is code-named Orbis.
The trailer above is suitably vague — ultimately showing off little more than the iconic PlayStation symbols and announcing a Feb. 20 event in New York (which online viewers will be able to tune into here). But the Wall Street Journal reports that its sources confirm that, indeed, Sony will be revealing its next machine and that it will be available in North America in time for the holidays. Meanwhile, well-known game analyst Michael Pachter tweeted the following: "Sony is inviting investors and media to the Feb 20 event; that means console announcement."
If the reveal takes place as expected then, Sony will fire the first shot in the next big gaming battle between Sony and Microsoft. Microsoft is expected to reveal its own next-generation game machine — code-named Durango — in the coming months as well.
Meanwhile, Sony's trailer has been followed by some fresh information leaks about Orbis' design and capabilities. Edge reports that its sources say the new Sony machine will come with a redesigned controller that features a small touchpad in the center. That touchpad is based on the one found on the back side of Sony's handheld Vita game machine.
Edge also reports that the next PlayStation will continually record the most recent 15 minutes of onscreen gaming for users to edit and broadcast, and the controller will have a new "Share" button so players can share screenshots and video clips online.
Meanwhile, Edge's "development sources" confirm earlier reports that the next PlayStation will be more powerful than the next Xbox. And much of their information jibes with a recent report from gaming site Kotaku, which was given more than 90 pdf documents detailing the console.
And with powerful new consoles on the horizon that means next-gen games are in the works as well and speculation has abounded about which games will be playable on the machines.
CD Projekt Red development studio (the company responsible for the Witcher games and the forthcoming "Cyberpunk 2077" game) on Friday revealed its brand new REDengine 3 gaming engine.
CD Projekt Red said in a press released that the powerful new engine is "a next-gen ready solution" that will bring players "closer to the most life-like world ever created in video games." And the timing of the announcement — mere hours after Sony's teaser reveal — seems to suggest that "Cyberpunk 2077," which is being made with the REDengine 3, will be a game specially made for the forthcoming consoles.
Meanwhile, many game pundits have speculated that Bungie's forthcoming title — the yet-to-be-fully-revealed project code-named "Destiny" — will be a next-gen game. And many expect both Ubisoft's "Watch Dogs" game and the forthcoming "Star Wars 1313" game to appear on the new consoles as well.
Check out InGame editor Todd Kenreck's chat (below) with the folks behind "Star Wars 1313" and "Watch Dogs" ... and watch them delicately step around the nex-gen questions.
Winda Benedetti writes about video games for NBC News. You can follow her tweets about games and other things on Twitter here @WindaBenedetti and you can follow her on Google+. Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IN-GAME FACEBOOK PAGE to discuss the day's gaming news and reviews.