No discs for PS4

When it comes to disc technology in the next-generation console market, Sony is making a Blu-ray drive standard on both the $499 and $599 versions of its PS3, whereas Microsoft has decided to play it safe by using traditional DVD-9 media with its XBOX 360. While many like to point to a “Blu-ray vs HD DVD” battle in the console arena, one must take into account that no XBOX 360 games will use HD DVD media and the HD DVD drive will be an optional, external USB unit aimed at playing back high-definition movies. Microsoft has also stated that it has no plans to offer an XBOX 360 with an integrated HD DVD drive. With that being said, even though Sony's PlayStation 3 has yet to hit store shelves, Sony is already talking about its successor. Sony's Phil Harrison believes that the PlayStation 4 will forgo discs altogether.

With the rising popularity of using an online marketplace to download games, additional game content, demos and movie trailers, many are questioning the need for physical media in the future. “I’d be amazed if the PlayStation 4 has a physical disc drive,” said Harrison to Wired Magazine. While the market may not be quite to the point where a 100% digital distribution model would be feasible for console gamers, it may be ripe for the picking when the PlayStation 4 is released.

Looking at the PS2, it has been on the market for 6 years. Both NVIDIA and Sony have stated that the PS3 will have a shelf life of 10 years -- that pushes us to 2016 for PS4. Perhaps by 2016, large-scale digital distribution of game and movie content and high-speed Internet connections will be at a point where such a model would be feasible for a home console.

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