PS4 Stuck With Discs "for the Foreseeable Future"

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PS4 Stuck With Discs "for the Foreseeable Future"

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Despite its increased emphasis on connectivity, Sony won't be going all-in with a digitally distributed future.

With last Wednesday's PlayStation 4 announcement, Sony not only promised a system that will play highly advanced games, but use more online features than ever before. The one area in which the PS4 may fall short however is digital distribution, a field the industry is supposed to be inching closer to every day. According to Sony's Jim Ryan, while digital game purchases will be available on the PS4, Blu-ray discs will be the distribution method of choice for roughly the next five years.

"Clearly, and this applies not just to games but to pretty much every form of entertainment, there is a trend to increased digital consumption," Ryan said. "But the primary delivery mechanism for the big games on the PS4 platform will continue to be Blu-ray discs, for the foreseeable future."

Part of the reason to stick with Blu-ray could be a consumer preference for retail, but Ryan notes there is a more practical concern. "For our big first-party games, we've encouraged the studios to make as much use of the BD50 [50-gigabyte Blu-ray drive] as they possibly can," he explains. "If you go down to Southern Europe, where we have very big and important businesses, it can take you 3 days over a standard internet connection to download a file of the size, and that's not fun. There are certain gating factors in terms of internet infrastructure that mandate that the disc-based solution is going to be the primary delivery mechanism."

When asked how long this foreseeable future would last, Ryan suggested that five years might allow online infrastructures to catch up with digital demand. Interestingly, that's a similar timeframe for when some developers would like to see a PS5. Whether the ninth console generation will finally herald a major shift to digitally-distributed games remains to be seen.

Source: IGN
Image: Wikipedia

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Sounds good to me. I hate how it can take more than a day to download a game from steam. The faster the better.

That's smart and sensible of them. But for the love of all that is holy, please include a BD-ROM drive that's faster than the PS3's. I don't even care if it makes more noise. Alternatively, it would be great if Sony allows the HDD install option that the 360 has for all games, as it's pretty much the one positive I can name about the 360 right now. This became glaringly obvious when I decided to pick up Lollipop Chainsaw for the PS3. Dear God, the loading times.

And that's probably for the best, seeing as many big developers and even publishers even still want to make (/publish) their gigantic godzilla sized games I doubt that current internet infra-structure could catch up until it's as efficient as FedEx. Which would be around 2040.. http://what-if.xkcd.com/31/ I hope it's sooner though, cause I'd really like to see something like an Elder Scrolls game, maybe another open world game like Watch Dogs and Assassins Creed or even a shooter like Crysis transfer in 5 mins tops before I'm old enough to apply for retirement.

They could try a distributed file transfer infra-structure like what peer-to-peer sharing is doing with them torrents. Except with payment of dollars to the devs and stuff. Disks also work though, I like disks.

So it's still using Blu-Rays? I'm okay with this.

I mean, I don't really own that many Blu-Ray movies or whatever, but it's still a nice bonus. Plus, it's nice not having to switch discs every 10 hours of gameplay. And those anti-scratch surfaces... *drools*

Oh, good. Call me old-fashioned if you'd like, but I still prefer purchasing physical copies. Just something about being able to hold what I paid money for in my hand that I liked. Plus, um... I don't actually have all that much bandwidth per month, and my connection speeds aren't necessarily the greatest, so going entirely digital would make me very sad. I still download small, cheap things, sure, but a game like, say, Watch Dogs, which one would have to assume is fairly large, would probably take me a couple of days. And a large chunk of my monthly bandwidth limit. I'm perfectly happy sticking with Blu-Ray.

Good. I've always liked the feel of just having physical items to attest to your purchase.

I like being able to point to an actual library when I want to, uh, show someone my gaming library.

Not that I'm against digital copies, I have plenty of those, but I fancy myself a bit of a game collector, or at least want to continue to build a collection. I can't bring myself to sell my games, even those I've finished, I organize them by genre and franchise and all that, Got shelves of them in fact.

I have unlimited downloads, but a 10Mb line, which translates to 1MB/sec download, or 1GB in 17 mins at max speed. Playing Gran Turismo, it takes about 3 hours for a full setup before I can play the game. If the next gen was full digital distribution I'd be forced to skip it because it'd take 2 days before I could play any newly purchased game. I welcome the upgraded blu-ray format. The "play as you download" feature sounds interesting but it also sounds difficult to program for with things like texture maps and models that might be recycled throughout the game. I'll expect first party games to have the feature, but little else.

I'm glad that they are sticking with discs. I've always been a fan of owning the discs for games as I prefer them over having a digital copy. This is mainly because it'd take forever for me to download a game and I'd rather not have to wait forever to play the game I just purchased because it needs to download.

I wouldnt be surprised if this is the last generation to use physical media

of coarse could be problematic if in Australia we dont get our shit sorted (data caps up the ass)

Remus:
I have unlimited downloads, but a 10Mb line, which translates to 1MB/sec download, or 1GB in 17 mins at max speed. Playing Gran Turismo, it takes about 3 hours for a full setup before I can play the game. If the next gen was full digital distribution I'd be forced to skip it because it'd take 2 days before I could play any newly purchased game. I welcome the upgraded blu-ray format. The "play as you download" feature sounds interesting but it also sounds difficult to program for with things like texture maps and models that might be recycled throughout the game. I'll expect first party games to have the feature, but little else.

I dont get it....even a 20gb game wouldnt take THAT long to download with that kind of connection...as far as downloads go I get around 500kb per second on average

I love how the article makes it sound like it's a bad thing (probably wasn't meant to be but still). This is great news.

You know, Sony is missing a very obvious solution to their download problem: Don't make the devs use more of the disc. Make them use less space. Procedural content can go a really long way.

Just look at .kkreiger: It's a one-level FPS which looks as good as Doom 3, but it only takes up 96KB. If that can be done by amateurs ten years ago, then there's no excuse for professional developers today to not be matching them.

Maybe we need to issue game publishers a challenge: make the best possible game that fits into 10MB. The prestige from winning a contest could do wonders for sales. Entries for the 2015 round open on the 1st of January 2014 and close on the 31st of December 2015.

Has the solvemedia been looking at news from Australia? Getting "black monday" sure makes it sound like it.

It's going to be at least 10 years before even the slowest country is in any position for high speed accessibility.

Thank christ.

My connection speed right now is about 80kb/s. And that's fast for me. I'd be more than happy if the digital future waited a bit longer. Or at the very least provide both digital options and physical options for purchasing games, so everyone can get what they want, how they want it.

But most I'd just like a faster damn connection. That'd be real grand.

DrunkOnEstus:
That's smart and sensible of them. But for the love of all that is holy, please include a BD-ROM drive that's faster than the PS3's. I don't even care if it makes more noise. Alternatively, it would be great if Sony allows the HDD install option that the 360 has for all games, as it's pretty much the one positive I can name about the 360 right now. This became glaringly obvious when I decided to pick up Lollipop Chainsaw for the PS3. Dear God, the loading times.

The PS3 does have an install option. In fact, it's pretty much required for damn-near all PS3 games. It was one of the primary criticisms the system received, actually. Not sure if it's still required for games, but I'd assume most still do it.

But I do agree, faster/better drive would be awesome. Same goes for the 360. Goddamn that thing is loud...

I don't really see why it has to be one or the other. Why can't the option be there to download the games if one wants or buy the discs? Do they feel that having both choices available would undermine physical sales somehow? Or vice versa? The way I see it, making every game digitally available is only increasing the market reach for your games. I get that the blu-ray games take up large hard-drive space, but is that any kind of reason to not at least offer them?

I just like digital downloads better. I'm pretty much always going to install the disc anyway for best performance, and I don't particularly care for discs that I'm just going to beat up accidentally and not be able to use a week later. I also like having a download history that lets me re-download a game as many times as I want so I can delete any game to save hard-drive space without worry. I don't have to rummage around looking for each game to put into the system individually, they're all there on my library ready to be played immediately.

I guess PC gaming has just spoiled me, but I just see it as so much more convenient, being able to buy from home at any time, having marginally less DRM with the cloud, and having a large, easily accessible library.

Innegativeion:
Good. I've always liked the feel of just having physical items to attest to your purchase.

I like being able to point to an actual library when I want to, uh, show someone my gaming library.

Not that I'm against digital copies, I have plenty of those, but I fancy myself a bit of a game collector, or at least want to continue to build a collection. I can't bring myself to sell my games, even those I've finished, I organize them by genre and franchise and all that, Got shelves of them in fact.

I'm the same, while I have many games on steam etc and have the net speed and limit to easily accommodation for games, I prefer to get my games as physical copies, especially the ones Im getting new. Digital games are for the cheaper "I'm not that into them/just want have a look" list of games, physical are for my preferred games/collections.

sethisjimmy:
I don't really see why it has to be one or the other. Why can't the option be there to download the games if one wants or buy the discs? Do they feel that having both choices available would undermine physical sales somehow? Or vice versa? The way I see it, making every game digitally available is only increasing the market reach for your games. I get that the blu-ray games take up large hard-drive space, but is that any kind of reason to not at least offer them?

I just like digital downloads better. I'm pretty much always going to install the disc anyway for best performance, and I don't particularly care for discs that I'm just going to beat up accidentally and not be able to use a week later. I also like having a download history that lets me re-download a game as many times as I want so I can delete any game to save hard-drive space without worry. I don't have to rummage around looking for each game to put into the system individually, they're all there on my library ready to be played immediately.

I guess PC gaming has just spoiled me, but I just see it as so much more convenient, being able to buy from home at any time, having marginally less DRM with the cloud, and having a large, easily accessible library.

I agree fully, having one or the other is stupid, there's no reason they can't have both to keep everyone happy. Seriously the arrogance of some 'experts' that I'll never understand who thinks they can tell everyone else how they will live.

How is retaining the option of playing blue-ray disks considered "falling short"? Consoles shouldn't make sure that users have reliable access to a game now?

Neronium:
I'm glad that they are sticking with discs. I've always been a fan of owning the discs for games as I prefer them over having a digital copy. This is mainly because it'd take forever for me to download a game and I'd rather not have to wait forever to play the game I just purchased because it needs to download.

Any kind of level based game could make good use of it. You set it up so it downloads in chunks of say three or four levels. It does not really work very well with open work games though.

sethisjimmy:
I don't really see why it has to be one or the other. Why can't the option be there to download the games if one wants or buy the discs? Do they feel that having both choices available would undermine physical sales somehow? Or vice versa? The way I see it, making every game digitally available is only increasing the market reach for your games. I get that the blu-ray games take up large hard-drive space, but is that any kind of reason to not at least offer them?

Sony has actually been pushing for that. If you have noticed in the last year or so more and more games are releasing in retail and on the psn at the same time. Sure its still not many but they are getting better and better with it.

Vault101:

I dont get it....even a 20gb game wouldnt take THAT long to download with that kind of connection...as far as downloads go I get around 500kb per second on average

You are right at that connection speed it would really only take him three or four hours to download a 10gb game.

So, what you're saying is that the PS5 won't be worth buying at all? GOOD TO KNOW. I'll just wait two years for the PS4 slim and call it quits.

Game industry needs to crash again already >_>

DrunkOnEstus:
That's smart and sensible of them. But for the love of all that is holy, please include a BD-ROM drive that's faster than the PS3's. I don't even care if it makes more noise. Alternatively, it would be great if Sony allows the HDD install option that the 360 has for all games, as it's pretty much the one positive I can name about the 360 right now. This became glaringly obvious when I decided to pick up Lollipop Chainsaw for the PS3. Dear God, the loading times.

The PS3 had a 2X speed blu ray that maxed out at 9MB/s the PS4 has a 6X speed drive so 27MB/s and 3 times faster.

My books will come on blu-ray?

WAY too soon to talk about the PS5 but I'm sure people were talking about the PS4 back when the PS2 was revealed to be called the PS4.

Anyway, this sounds excellent for people like me who try really, really hard to never ever buy digital games when there's an option to purchase a physical copy. I don't see how a console utilizing physical media (and thus, allowing consumers to actually purchase and own their games as opposed to downloading king-sized game-apps) is a shortcoming. The PSP-Go was a download-only console and most people agree that the Go was nothing but a short-coming in and of itself.

As with pretty much everyone in this thread already, I think this is great news. We already know the drive is going to be faster, and it's likely an install option will exist for every game if you want to use it, so I don't really see any downsides here.

50 gigs?
Dear god the harddrive on the thing better be massive so you can install more than 2 games on the thing so the disk isn't spinning permanently and loudly.

Good to hear, I don't care for buying a game and then waiting 2 days to play it.

Roxor:
Just look at .kkreiger: It's a one-level FPS which looks as good as Doom 3, but it only takes up 96KB. If that can be done by amateurs ten years ago, then there's no excuse for professional developers today to not be matching them.

Although efficient programming and what not is a nice thing to aim for, with 50Gb blu-rays it isn't really needed.

As for the article itself, I don't see how anyone could have thought different.
The world isn't properly equipped yet for a download only console.

Some want slower console cycles too, like John Carmack thoug, so staying with discs will hopefully slow Sony down a bit and get back to their mega PS2 era (which only just recently stopped being manufactured).

When you make a console that has lots of processing power but costs a LOT ($1000 in Australia on release), has obtuse programming surrounding it making utilising said hardware very difficult (compared to x360/PC relationship), doesn't function as well as a media centre, and stupid triggers then you can't really be surprised when the x360 is very profitable and the PS3 isn't so much (although the stupid triggers is fixed if the PS4 controller specs are going to stay as they're inverted now).

Makes sense, most people don't have the option of a high speed internet connection in their area to even begin to consider downloading a 50GB game, and that is also not considering how much storage space the ps4 will have at release to be able to store that size of game. So Sony would be right to wait for the infrastructure to catch up before delivering a more digital centric model.

bluegate:

Roxor:
Just look at .kkreiger: It's a one-level FPS which looks as good as Doom 3, but it only takes up 96KB. If that can be done by amateurs ten years ago, then there's no excuse for professional developers today to not be matching them.

Although efficient programming and what not is a nice thing to aim for, with 50Gb blu-rays it isn't really needed.

As for the article itself, I don't see how anyone could have thought different.
The world isn't properly equipped yet for a download only console.

Couldn't agree more. What's with the title anyway? "Stuck with discs?" Please. As if downloading something the size of a blu-ray disc takes nothing.

Good, it takes me days to download games on Steam, and my unlimited internet package has a 'fair use' limit of 100GB a month.

Disks or not, I still preffer physical copy of the game to digital.

Well, that's great. Really no problem with that. I do have the internet speed to stomach large downloads, but I prefer not to do that. Plus storage space. I don't like stacking my hard drive with huge games. Discs are okay. Plus I like physical copies of games. :3

Mcoffey:
Sounds good to me. I hate how it can take more than a day to download a game from steam. The faster the better.

Apparently, spending more than a day waiting is better than going out, because the sun is scary or something.

But seriously, folks, was this ever really in question? The US is one of the primary markets and it lacks the infrastructure to have console level sales on pure digital distribution.

WAIT! I hear people protest. STEEEEEEEEEEEAM!

Yeah, Steam completely owns DD on the PC. The PC market is estimated, according to Forbes' sources, at about 4 billion (all figures in USD unless marked otherwise) annually. Steam owns about 80% of that. They own 80% of 4 billion, to repeat.

The gaming market was worth an estimated 67 billion in 2012. So while no actual numbers are available on Steam (Since Valve doesn't release any figures; Gabe pinky swears they're making it big, though), even if they held 100% of the market, they're still, what? about a sixth of the overall market? Yeah....

Hell, let's be generous. The PC market is double what is estimated, and they're now just over a TENTH of the market.

Well, then, I can see no flaw assuming that bringing the rest of the market digital, with ten times the load, would work out okay.

The truth is, people want an all-digital future, and this is the only reason they're predicting it. There was no pragmatic reason to believe the PS4 or Durango would offer themselves up as solely digital devices, because there's no reason to velieve either Sony or Microsoft are THAT suicidal.

Don't apologize Mr. Ryan. This is good news!

I think in a few years the PS4/Xbox will move into digital streaming. I think some companies will go disc based with there games, but some i think will have download only versions through psn or live.

It would be good to slowly change peoples opinions and prepare the way for digital download only for the PS5 in the future. I for one would like the choice, to buy in the shops for 40, or to download it for 25.

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