With the next generation of gaming consoles set to debut during the next two years, rumors abound about whether or not digitally downloaded or cloud-stored games will replace the current disc-based standard. A new Wall Street Journal report claims that, for Sony at least, the day of the disc isn’t done yet.
Citing those ever-dependable “people familiar with the matter,” the Journal says that Sony had considered going down the disc-free road for its next, currently unnamed successor to the PlayStation 3, but when the new console debuts in 2013, it will ultimately include a drive to play discs.
The reasons for sticking with discs are several, explain the sources. First, there’s Sony’s relationships with the bricks-and-mortar retailers who, while shrinking in market share, still bring in boatloads of cash to the electronics giant.
Then there’s the fact that not everyone has constant Internet access or the bandwidth to download the huge files. PlayStation 3 games use Blu-ray discs which can hold more than 20GB of data.
What the Journal doesn’t mention is that the optical drive would also allow people to play their PS3 games on the new console. That will be very important in terms of getting users to adopt the new technology, as people will not want to be stuck with a pile of games that don’t work in the new console.
And while Sony may be including the optical drive in the console, that doesn’t mean that the downloadable game market won’t continue to expand at a rapid pace. Having options is a good thing.