To say that it is a surprise to hear that Sony considered a digital only console would be a lie, in fact in doing due diligence they had to consider it. The concept of a digital only console generation that forgoes optical drives is a nice thought in concept but in application it’s just not going to work at this point and that’s ultimately what Sony figured out. A report by the Wall Street Journal indicates that Sony ultimately rejected the plan due to the inconsistency of Internet connections around the globe which could cause users with slower Internet connections to have difficulties downloading games. There are also indications that Microsoft came to roughly the same conclusion when evaluating the concept for their Xbox 720.
This conclusion supports a position that I have long since held and that is that until global Internet speeds reach a certain level, there is NO WAY any console maker could take the risk of dropping some kind of media drive in favor of a digital only configuration. It would be suicide in fact. While the U.S. is the major market for console sales, the three major console makers make their money from having a solid global footprint and if you put out a solution where the speed of the Internet can negatively affect your customer’s experience in such a massive way then you let an external factor control a huge part of your product’s perception.
The report also indicated that Sony is planning to launch their next console in 2013, a rumor that seems to be getting louder and louder. Now there are rumors that Sony may in fact reverse course and at least tease if not full-out announce their brand new console at this year’s E3. Guess we will have to wait and see. Keep it locked to ZoKnowsGaming for all the latest PlayStation news.