Sony Nixes "Digital Download-Only" for Next Generation PlayStation Console
May 31, 2012 4:38 PM
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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.
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
, 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.
The Wall Street Journal
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Apples and Oranges
6/1/2012 9:22:26 AM
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.
"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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