Print 18 comment(s) - last by Silver2k7.. on Jun 4 at 1:34 PM

Sony has decided to stick with the optical disk drive option instead of a download-only plan for its next PlayStation console

While many forms of entertainment, such as music and movies, are heading toward a digital-only format, Sony declined a download-only setup for its upcoming successor to the PlayStation 3.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Sony has decided to stick with the optical disk drive option instead of a download-only plan for its next PlayStation console. This is a somewhat surprising move, considering the lucrative business that all-digital gaming platforms like Apple and Google's mobile operating systems employ via applications, but Sony has its reasons for continuing to offer the optical disc drive: Internet connectivity.

According to Sony, it's choosing to keep the optical disc drive because not everyone has an internet connection at home. Even if there is an internet connection, this can sometimes be unreliable and affect the gaming experience.

Sony isn't alone with this logic. Microsoft is holding onto its optical disc drive in the upcoming successor to the Xbox 360 for the same reason.

In addition to internet-related concerns, console makers are sticking with optical disc drives because only a select few companies, such as Apple and Google, have been successful with the download-only setup. Apple's App Store and Google's Google Play (which merged the Android Market and Google Music back in March) allow mobile gamers to download applications to their devices for a fee.

Brick-and-mortar stores were likely a bit of a concern as well, but some, such as GameStop, have already started preparing for the digital game takeover by offering codes instead of physical games. These codes can be used to unlock digital games on a console for a fee. However, the used games business would surely take a hit if console makers went all-digital and kicked the optical disc drive to the curb. The used games industry generates an extra $1 billion of sales annually.

Sony's next console, which is expected to debut in 2013, will offer a few new changes. Some of these changes include microprocessors and graphics made by Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) instead of graphics chips made by NVIDIA or cell chips made by IBM and Toshiba.

Sony has a lot riding on its next game console, considering the company reported a record-breaking $5.7 billion USD annual loss earlier this month. This is the company's fourth straight year of losses, where issues like a failing TV unit have contributed to Sony's financial woes.  

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Or maybe they thought it through...
By mcnabney on 5/31/2012 7:18:50 PM , Rating: 2
Apple/Android apps are between 20KB and 20MB in size. Not a big deal to download. First tier console games tip the scales at 6-8GB and that is current generation. Even on a solid connection, that kind of download takes hours. They also might have gotten a note from ISPs indicating that they might face a toll-collector for the last mile.

RE: Or maybe they thought it through...
By Motoman on 5/31/2012 7:35:04 PM , Rating: 3
...go look at a full download of something like Age of Conan. If you want to download all of the content, from start to finish, it's like 20Gb.

On my current wifi internet, which is the one and only option we have for anything resembling "boradband," that'd be 2 months' worth of my internet allowance.

Meaning I could download 10Gb in a couple hours on, say, June 1st. Then for a month I get internet at about 20kbps. On July 1st, I could download the other 10Gb...and then for a month get internet at about 20kbps. Then on August 1st I could download a Gb of patches...and then play my game, having gone through 2 months of essentially no internet access.

1 in 5, people.

RE: Or maybe they thought it through...
By mcnabney on 5/31/2012 7:44:29 PM , Rating: 2
There is also strong signs of the PS4 supporting 4K resolutions. Imagine the size of games fully utilizing that kind of detail? RPGs would start requiring DL BluRay disks (PS4 is said to support quad-layer which allows 4K movies). Somebody finally slapped the director of marketing in the back of the head - while Tokyo and Seoul might be able to handle that kind of capacity, a globally targeted product would fail with that kind of annoyance.

I mean think of it. You buy the console, take it home, and you will get to start playing in a day or three at best.

RE: Or maybe they thought it through...
By SPOOFE on 6/1/2012 3:32:34 PM , Rating: 3
True 4K for games ain't gonna happen; just too much of a processing power leap over previous gen. 4K movies is a bit more believable, but they're still settling in to the "HD" generation. I wouldn't be at all surprised if 4K doesn't appear much outside of niche professional devices for another five years.

By Silver2k7 on 6/4/2012 1:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
4K televisions will probably start releasing in 2013.. so it could be 4K games for sure.

Right now there is a very limited and expensive selection of 4K screens avalible, but in 2013 im sure they will start becoming alot more common and cheaper.

RE: Or maybe they thought it through...
By PrinceGaz on 6/1/2012 10:06:25 AM , Rating: 2
Or alternatively (assuming your 10GB allowance is per calendar month) you could actually tackle the problem far more sensibly and download the first chunk with what remains of your 10GB on June 30th, the next chunk with what remains of it on July 31st, and assuming you are now within a few gigs of completing the download, grab the rest on August 1st.

That way, instead of two months of next to no internet access as you wait to get the game, you never go over your limit (except on the last day of the month, but that's okay as the following day you're back to full speed) so you have full speed internet throughout, AND the game takes just over a month to download, instead of two months :p

By Motoman on 6/1/2012 12:55:12 PM , Rating: 2
That would presume that normal usage leaves anything left under the cap by the end of the month...which it doesn't.

Normal usage typically means you run out with a couple days left each month.

...and in either case, the sheer concept of taking a month to download a game is pure ridiculousness.

By Silver2k7 on 6/4/2012 1:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
lol 10GB/month plans needs to dissapear from the market space.

It's silly to have such bandwith limits in this day and age.

By Motoman on 5/31/2012 5:00:17 PM , Rating: 3
That means it is a valid option for 100% of it's potential US market. As opposed to only 80%...

...since about 20% of Americans live in rural areas frequently without any broadband internet, where downloading much of anything is a farcical notion.

Giving the finger to 1 in 5 of your potential customers is just not a great idea.

RE: Duh.
By matty123 on 5/31/2012 5:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
America is not the only market in the world it may be the most lucrative but their are many other countries with far lower broadband penetration rates.

Also the PS3 is outperformed in the US by the XBOX 360 and generally does far better in Europe and Asia so I assume pleasing american consumers isn't at the absolute top of their lists...

RE: Duh.
By inighthawki on 5/31/2012 5:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
The American market is still very large, especially for video games, compared to the rest of the world, so it actually makes sense that they would want to try to get greater penetration in that market.

RE: Duh.
By quiksilvr on 5/31/2012 5:26:15 PM , Rating: 2
That's all well and good, but I hope at least in the next generation I have the option to get a digital copy. One thing I would love is to digitize my collection and connect to it remotely via my laptop/tablet and play it remotely.

another reason
By superstition on 5/31/2012 10:14:18 PM , Rating: 3
Forcing consumers to re-buy scratched games...

Do you think they'll put a protective case around the disc, as early DVD-RAM discs had?


RE: another reason
By FITCamaro on 6/1/2012 2:01:05 PM , Rating: 2
While extremely early Blu-ray discs had some scratching issues, that has long since been solved. Sure nothing ultimately stops a disc from getting scratched, I've not heard of any serious disc scratching issues with Blu-rays since.

RE: another reason
By SPOOFE on 6/1/2012 3:34:54 PM , Rating: 2
I was one of the early skeptics about Blu-rays getting scratched. Now I see them take abuse that would have practically disintegrated DVD's. Kids do the darnedest things. :D

By Adam M on 5/31/2012 7:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
I was disappointing that Sony didn't bring the UMD Import program to the states; if it weren't for that I would probably already have a Vita. The proprietary memory card was bad enough. If Sony gave up on disks and made the next console online only I would never buy another Sony product. Offline play is just as important as online and I would rather own a Disk then take up space on my hard drive with game after game.

Apples and Oranges
By Arsynic on 6/1/2012 9:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
Why compare Apple and Google to Sony and Microsoft? Games on iOS and Android are nowhere near the size and complexity of Xbox and Playstation games. For example, some PS3 games fill up a single-layer BD ROM. Even though alot of this is duplicate data to compensate for the PS3's slow Blu-Ray drive, it's still multiple GBs of data that has to be downloaded.

So we're talking about thousands of megabytes vs tens of megabytes.

game codes
By wallijonn on 6/1/2012 3:59:23 PM , Rating: 2
Brick-and-mortar stores were likely a bit of a concern as well, but some, such as GameStop, have already started preparing for the digital game takeover by offering codes instead of physical games. These codes can be used to unlock digital games on a console for a fee.

If GS can issue codes then so can WalMart, Target... The only reason not to buy codes online would be a lack of a credit card or people wary of CC security.

With a lack of physical media stores will no longer make a profit selling games and not being able to sample games via used game outlet would relegate users to downloading demos, which aren't always indicative of actual gameplay or graphics. The market will narrow quickly with lesser known games not being economically feasible.

But I suspect that the real reason why consoles are staying with physical media is due to the threat of bandwidth caps. In effect the ISPs can kill off the consoles. What's the difference between downloading a movie and downloading a game? The game is quadruple the size of a movie. So caps will be instituted. The consumer will therefore be forced to pay by chapter or level to minimize the chance of the caps being activated. Sooner or later gaming would have soured the consumer's appetite and gaming will be relegated to cell phones only (since the game publisher will want the full amount for the whole game instead of the first level. Once the customer gets burned not liking a game he will likely just not bother buying any games at all.)

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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