Sony PS4, Xbox 720: Discs Vs Digital theories

By Alan Ng - Jan 10, 2012

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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Also See: New PS4 feature adds PPV service for live sports events

  • WrappedINn

    Damn… My friend just showed me the recently leaked information of the Playstation 4 and Xbox 

    720 and I must say, I was completely amazed. I didn’t think this info would be released for quite 

    a while, but it’s managed to find its way onto the Internet, luckily!

    If you guys want to check out the PS4 and Xbox 720 for yourselves, here’s the site I saw them on:

    xbox720ps4leak . com . nu

  • THR

    I personally will never buy a console that does not support physical media. Why? I still pull out and play my original NES system and want to be able to play the games that I paid for. Digital copies may become unavailable or unuseable for various reasons (look at Halo 2 multiplayer).

  • Anonymous

    It’s a great idea in theory. But with the current bandwidth limiting ISPs it just leads to a greater issue, you’ve also got to factor in how a future digital distribution only system would destroy retail competition.  AT&T for example gives you 150GB to work with each month. Lets say you download 4 PS3 games at approx. 20 GB you’ve already used more than half your bandwidth. Lets factor in Netflix HD streaming, and you could see yourself going over that 150GB and into ridiculous overage charges real quick. It all points to a digital only distribution system. In that system the consumer looses big time. You can only get your games from Sony/Microsoft and you’ll never see a $2 videogame at gamestop because they will get put out of business by this stupid system. I didn’t include Nintendo because obviously they’re about 2 generations behind at this point. They’ll be releasing games on disk for at least the next 8 years. 

    • Awdiehardskinsfan

      Thank god for Nintendo and actually they’ll be half a step ahead with wii u but look for Microsoft to announce its next step at E3

  • Pikeing-74

    Keep the disk player

  • onominous

    Soooo…get rid of discs and you now have a digitial download games console. What about the millions of people that probably use their PS3 as a blu ray player, and DVD player. Reduntant. They have to keep an optical drive. Theirs no other way at the moment.

  • can anyone say psp go? not a good way to go at all, leave the disk reader intact, theres no reason to go all digital on us now