Sony PS4, Xbox 720: Discs Vs Digital theories

There has been a lot of speculation over the last few weeks, on whether 2012 will see the introduction of next-generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft. It is evitable that they are coming, and a recent report this week includes comments from one analyst who believes that the upcoming Sony PS4 and Microsoft’s next Xbox console will use disc-based games as standard.

If you head to the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Store today, you’ll see that there is a growing number of games that have become available to download as a digital copy. When these online marketplaces launched, the only downloads that were available were the likes of demos and ‘smaller’ games which benefited from having a store listing since they wouldn’t be able to make it into retail shops as a full $50-60 purchase.

Now though, we are seeing developers include big name titles on the stores as well, with many developers opting to release both a retail and digital copy of a game upon launch. Battlefield 3 and FIFA 12 are examples of two huge games that launched digitally as well as via retail in 2011, but is this a early sign of a future industry that will depend entirely on digital gaming sales?

It seems that the possibility of next generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft depending entirely on digital based sales is light years away, as Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne Agee predicts that the PS4 and so called Xbox ‘720’ will still be ‘primarily disc-based’, according to a report published by Industry Gamers. The majority of gamers will agree too that it will be a major shock if the next consoles did not ship with a disc reader and just relied on digital copies from online stores. We do think it may happen in the future, but no where in the next few years and certainly not for the next generation gaming consoles.

Where do you stand on the digital vs disc debate? Would you buy a gaming console which played digital copies of games only, or do you believe that discs will always be needed – it is always nice to have the possession of a disc when you have paid good money for it after all.



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