With Nintendo recently announcing the successor to its popular Wii video game system, all eyes have shifted to Microsoft and Sony for hints of what the future holds for the the Xbox 360 and Playstation.

Neither has said anything officially, though leaks here and there are starting to garner press. A DigiTimes report said Sony is prepping a new console for release in 2012; while a director of operations for chipmaker AMD claimed that the next Xbox will produce graphics rivaling the scenes in James Cameron's "Avatar."

It's all hype and a lot of fun, which makes this gorgeously rendered concept of an imagined Playstation 4 all the more interesting. It comes to us from designer Joseph Dumary on the site Yanko Design — and is something I'm hoping Sony draws inspiration from. 

The highlights that I'm most appreciative of are the system's embrace of sustainable manufacturing and energy efficiency. According to Dumary, his concept would contain 60 percent recycled materials with a smart zero watt standby mode. Since it was released in 2006, Sony has been revising the Playstation 3 hardware to be more energy efficient, going from a 380W power supply in the first generation to a 200W unit in the current "slim" model. 

It makes sense that Sony might take energy conservation even further with its next system. In 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and consulting firm Ecos recommended in a study that the next generation of systems "have power-management features built in, a "sleep" button on the console, and automatic power-down after three hours of inactivity." According to the study, adding these features would save the U.S. more than $1 billion in electricity costs.

Dumary's design would seem to align with some of those recommendations. He's included an "ECO Restart" function that allows a game to be saved, "the console turned off, and turned back on to resume exactly where the user left off without the need for a full start up, reducing energy waste and prolonging the life of the unit."

Of course, this thing is also loaded with the latest tech to make virtual worlds come to life. Some of the dream specs listed include a 1.5TB HDD, Full 3D 4K2K compatible, DLNA, DPhdmi (HDMI Connect), 3D Blu-ray, USB 3.0, and more.

Whatever Sony and Microsoft release next, you can bet that the systems themselves will be much more energy efficient than their predecessors. If they can embrace some greener materials (and reduce the toxicity of their components as well), the real world will be better off as you save that virtual one from an imminent alien invasion. 

Check out more pics of the concept over at Yanko Design

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Playstation 4 'eco-concept' is gorgeous
One designer envisions what a green successor to Sony's popular gaming device might look like.