Exclusive: PS4 / Orbis Rumoured To Feature “Native” OpenGL

Anonymous sources? Seems like everyone in the industry has at least two. On each arm.

Our little birdy has been whispering into our shell-like recently, and seems to know a thing or two about the next generation PlayStation, widely rumoured to be – in terms of codename at least – called Orbis.

Our source gave us a knowing nod on that account, but also suggested something that developers might well be interested in: Orbis will support OpenGL natively.

“OpenGL is a layered API on the PS3,” our source told us. “It’s much easier to use than LibGCM, which is the main PS3 system.”

So, with the PS3, OpenGL is emulated on top of LibGCM. “With Orbis, though,” our source added, again suggesting that the name is sticking, “OpenGL is native.”

Naturally, we need to stamp this one with a big fat RUMOUR sign. But it’s not a massive big sticker or anything, more a subtle little peelable one – like the ones you get on apples.


  1. Can someone translate into English?

    • Much, much easier to code for without stressing the power of the machine too much. I think.

      • They had to do that really with all the poor PS3 versions (comparatively) of titles.

      • They’re a lot better than they were at the start of the PS3’s life. But the easier the better.

      • much easier to hack!

    • It means the PS4 would be using a higher level (i.e. less machine like) standard for rendering graphics. It says nothing about performance or anything like that.

      • Well in principle it means they’ll be a performance increase over the PS3, even if you were to level the playing field on the hardware.

      • Hard to say I guess, it depends how much of an overhead the OpenGL wrapper on top of LibGCM is. I’m sure the vast majority of cross platform games are using the OpenGL wrapper instead of LibGCM so I would guess that the current overhead is probably pretty insignificant.

      • It might be, or they may just decide that whatever the overhead is is worth it to exclude rewriting chunks of engine to make it work.

      • Yeah true enough!

    • When you have an area or level in a game all of the geometry has to be rendered every frame, even parts of the level that are obscured. OpenGL means that the game engine only has to render the parts of the level you are looking at each frame, instead of the entire level. This means much more grunt can be put into effects and such.

      At the moment the PS3 can only emulate OpenGL which isn’t as efficient as being able to natively perform it. It just means the developers will get a higher performance enhancement with it than on current generation hardware.

  2. This is looking like a E3 2012 showing. Oh man I don’t have £500 to pre order it :(

    • With all the rumours i’ll kind of be disappointed if it isnt revealed at E3 even though i’m perfectly happy with my PS3 and wouldn’t get one for a while.

  3. i thought open gl was like a sort of middleware so devs didn’t have to write different code for all the different hardware pcs could have.
    that wouldn’t be an issue with a console would it?

    but my understanding is a little limited in this are.

    anything that can make developing for the machine easier should be a good thing though right?

    • I believe OpenGL is a standard API for drawing 3D graphics. Like standardized instuctions for draw a green triangle with corners at A,B and C. On the PS3 they would have to use middleware that translates from OpenGL to instuctions the PS3 could use but with the Orbis they could send those instructions directly to the system/chip. That could potentially save a little overhead from the middleware layer.

      I just hope “Orbis” doesn’t mean they’ll be making a sphere shaped console.

  4. Now are we talking granny smiths or cox’s?

    • pink ladies

      • Braeburns, fried in a pan with sausage and onion and served in a doorstop of a sandwich, mmmmmm

  5. From what I can gather from the information, this looks good for Sony.

  6. Is your source just reading GamesIndustry.biz?


    “While the core hardware available to Sony with Orbis will almost certainly be a DX11-capable part, the notion of Sony actually utilising its competitor’s API doesn’t hold much water. Far more likely would be utilisation of OpenGL, something not unknown to Sony with its existing “PSGL” support for PlayStation 3, with OpenCL able to carry out DirectCompute style functions that are at the heart of DX11.”

    • Er, that’s Rich guessing at what would be best for the machine. Our source is telling us this is what is /in/ the machine.

      • I was just referring to the fact that the source could have just picked up the prospect of OpenGL from that article.

        I’m sure your source is legit.

  7. Rumours Schmumours…if its true, its good I guess.

  8. I thought they had Direct3D instead (as in DirectX)?
    OpenGL is nice and fine and has no stupid limits but DirectX basically rocks the world?

    • It also happens to be developed by Microsoft. :) Maybe Sony is just too proud to use their technology.

      • Or maybe it’s hard to license seeing as the only platforms with DirectX is Windows and XBox, everything else (Linux, Mac OS, phones & consoles) all run OpenGL in some form.

  9. So exciting….

  10. As I understand it, OpenGL is a much more efficient way of rendering geometry, because it only renders what you happen to be looking at for that frame.

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