WSJ: Sony’s PS3 Successor Nearly Did Away with Discs

We all know it’s just a matter of time before the next generation of gamers has no idea what a DVD looks like, but that change may be coming sooner than some expected. According to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, Sony nearly decided to build the PS3’s successor without an optical drive, instead going with a download-only console.

According to the sources, the primary reason Sony decided to keep the optical drive was concern that inconsistent Internet speeds worldwide could be problematic for end user performance. In other words, the only thing keeping Sony (and reportedly, the competition) from eschewing discs for gaming consoles altogether is a performance roadblock that will be removed at some point in the near future. It’s reasonable to assume, then, that the generation of consoles after this next wave from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will most likely be ODD-free.

The days of the optical disc drive seen above are numbered

Things are certainly already headed that direction. Just ask Blockbuster, whose disc-filled brick and mortar empire has fallen into ruin, or online gaming provider Steam, who appears to be doing brisk business in the PC (and Mac) gaming market. Even Netflix has been planning for this eventuality for some time; a few years ago, as some may recall, a leaked internal document indicated that the company was planning to move to a streaming-only format by 2014.

The likes of GameStop surely aren’t happy to hear this news, but as we’ve noted recently multiple times--and the WSJ article addresses directly--they see the writing on the wall and are working fast to adjust accordingly.
Tags:  Sony, Gaming, PS3, Misc