The PS4 Doesn’t Sound Like It’ll Be Download Only

The PS4 Doesn’t Sound Like It’ll Be Download Only

The PlayStation 3 was released in 2006. Sony has famously said the console will have a ten year console life. By that math, we can expect the PlayStation 4 sometime after 2016. But can we expect a digital-download-only console?

Sony Computer Entertainment boss Kaz Hirai discussed digital downloads and their future in Sony consoles.

“We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope,” Hirai told website MCV.

“There’s always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium,” Hirai continued. “To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even ten years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme.”

While Sony launched a digital-download-only version of the PSP called the PSPgo, Sony also won the hi-def format war with Blu-ray. Supporting physical format could be best globally for PlayStation customers and for Sony’s own interests.

Back in 2006, former Sony Computer Entertainment exec Phil Harrison told Wired, “I’d be amazed if the PlayStation 4 has a physical disc drive.”

Hirai: PS4 not download-only [MCVUK][Pic]


  • C’mon now, even with a 50gb internet plan i’m still too stingy to download a 7gb steam game. (And I’m not alone on this)

    What makes you think I’m ever going to download a 25-50gb game?

    • 5-6 years from now the download caps aren’t to likely to matter, so long as Gillard gets the top job, which will hopefully happen soon. The national broadband scheme will solve a lot of our issues, and i know there’s one company offering 1 TB download caps already. Once companies besides Telstra are able to get everywhere, we’re gonna see a lot of changes in our favour.

    • Given that the American, Japanese and UK’s internet is alot superior to what we get down here in the Oceanic region any platform going Digital DL only wont care too much about a such a small market.

      Together Aus and NZ only have about 25-26 Million people so thats probably about < 10 million gamers Im guessing. Even then some people would be happy to DL. Personally like you I prefer a hard copy.

    • Nothing to do with the topic at hand, but you should be able to tell steam to download off telstra servers, which doesn’t count towards your cap.

      Well, assuming you’re on telstra anyway.

      • You can do it with quite a few providers, Internode has a very broad range of hosted content. The problem with Telstra is their content hosting is rather limited, and has a fairly short life span.

        (Telstra customer FYI)

        Also, selecting a steam preference for content provision is only that, a preference, if it can’t find it on the selected host, it will just grab it from anywhere, there’s a few filters you can get to force restrictions on it but that’s a story for another time.

  • Good to see sony aren’t complete morons. Even if there were no physical media for the games themselves, there’s no logical reason not to include a blu-ray drive, especially 5-6 years from now when they will be below dirt cheap. Hopefully they also realise that people still want backwards compatibility and include it.

    Anyway, a download only console is a guarenteed way to make me not buy it.

  • We might be moving towards the thumb drive type of media. In any case 10 year console life doesn’t mean PS4 will come out in 2016 – it just means that after the 10 years they will no longer support it. Take the PS2 it’s had a life of 10+ years so far but the PS3 came out a few years ago.

  • i hope that the PS3 lasts till 2020! I dont want to spend more money on a new console. i think weve reached a point where we are over pretty graphics. gamers just want fun games.

    why is there a back to the future image? lol

  • Maybe by 2016 we’ll have better internet plans and services. Then and only then, we might be ready for a download-only console.

    As it stands at the moment, I don’t like our chances.

  • “We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope,”

    Clearly Australia is included in that statement.

  • There’s so many reasons why digital only scares me. Not everyone is going to be as wise/benevolent as Valve. Some people will look at a digital only era as a great way to monopolise the prices, start more subscription based games (activision obviously).

    But then again paradigms can be turned on their heads quite quickly in the technology business.

  • The first console to lose physical discs will plummet in sales. I really don’t see any economical sense in doing so. Collector’s editions, DVD/Blu Rays, the convenience of having a physical copy… it just means too much to the user.

  • I doubt we’ll see a DD-only home console for a damn long while. DD-only portable consoles make sense due to, obviously, the portability aspect – I’m far more excited by the concept of being able to carry many games around on my portable console’s storage than merely having more shelf space at home as the result of a DD-only PS4. I do believe the failure of the PSPgo has much more to do with the high price and the fact that there’s no way to get free digital copies of the physical PSP games you’ve bought – a DD-only PSP2 would likely fare far better.

  • Hirai is right. The world will not move to digital-only for a while. Plus, people want to keep playing their older games.

    If the PS4 wants to continue in the PS3’s vein of being a 1-box-media-player-gaming-device-solution then a disc drive will be mandatory.

    If anything, I think the next gen will use Blu-Ray in both Sony and Microsoft’s devices. Microsoft know that only some parts of the world have sufficient internet capabilities to make all games digitally distributed, and next gen with better graphics etc. will need physical formats.

    That said, thumb drives may indeed prove competition in terms of physical media.

  • Just out of curiosity what’s the current average size of a PS3 game? Do many even reach full capacity of the blue-ray media?

    As has already been said, download quota’s have been extended quite generously as of late, 6 months ago a 50gb would of blown my mind, now I can run 200gb / 200gb for LESS then I was paying for my 25gb plan.

    • A lot of PS3 games are straight ports of 360 games that have to fit on one DVD, so it’s true that a lot of them don’t take up that much space. Then again, you have games like GOW3 that apparently takes up 35GB.

  • Umm… I didn’t see anyone say this already but a 10 year lifespan doesn’t mean another 6 years before PS4 comes out. After all, there’s been a 4 year crossover already between PS2 and PS3. It just means software will continue to be released for PS3 until around 2016 if the demand is still there.
    The next console generation is predicted to appear late 2012 which would match the 5-6 year window of last generation, yes?

  • they should do something like they do with apple air have it as a digital only console but people who want physical discs can buy an external disc drive

  • Brian,

    The PS1 had a 10 year life span.
    The PS2 had a 10 year life span.

    The life span of a console does not equal the time between successive generation (Except for the original XBOX)

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