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Next Generation Xbox and Playstation Consoles Will Have Optical Drives

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the may-the-circle-be-unbroken-and-shiny dept.

Input Devices 206

First time accepted submitter dintech writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that while Sony considered online-only content distribution for its next-generation Playstation, the manufacturer has decided that the new console will include an optical drive after all. Microsoft is also planning to include an optical disk drive in the successor to its Xbox 360 console as the software company had concerns about access to Internet bandwidth."

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206 comments

Internet Speeds Suck (4, Insightful)

0racle (667029) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169481)

And they suck hard in very large parts of the US. Digital Only distributions would make it so those parts of the US wouldn't consider buying the consoles.

6 days to download TERA, I'm not doing that again.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169761)

And they suck hard in very large parts of the US. Digital Only distributions would make it so those parts of the US wouldn't consider buying the consoles.

And for a lot of people, the bandwidth is capped, with extra fees if you go over it.

Assuming a modern video game puts a big dent in the disks now, I can only imagine that digital-only distribution would make the cost of the game more expensive overall.

I wouldn't go to a digital download model. It's a video game console. I want to put in a disk an play games ... I don't want it connected to the internet all the time. But, it seems increasingly, video game companies are insisting on an always-on internet connection.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (3, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170025)

Considering how many patches these games end up needing, and add-on content, the happy medium (pun intended) between download only and optical ROM might be a flash stick 2x the size of the base game or so (with some r/o and write-once protections built in.) That would allow the game to store patches on the same medium as it is distributed, rather than filling up your console drive.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170655)

Except that for the price sony paid to put a 20GB drive in the initial PS3's they could have put in a 500GB drive instead. That was the stupid choice they made sticking in a notebook drive, today they could easily do a 1TB drive or 1.5 TB for that price. They're probably looking at buying 10-20 million units (before they refresh and add a bigger drive) so they're probably looking at 30 bucks a drive or so.

I would expect next gen consoles to be looking at terabyte drives or more, as I said, since they cost basically nothing. With cloud storage for save games and small data, and the disks will serve as art distribution mechanisms.

In that sense consoles will start to look more and more like regular computers, again. They have to. Stick a 1TB drive in a box with a cpu, a half decent GPU, a web browser and a way to manage a few hundred installed programs and what do you have but a simplified version of Windows/Linux/OSX or cell phones. They're just terminals attached to the big servers at XBL and PSN who will control the licences for the games you have access to, and like steam games that come on disk, you're merely using that to save downloading and activating with them.

With enough disk space you don't really need a flash drive. Printing a CD or a DVD or a blu ray costs 20-50-80 cents, if that much anymore. A flash drive with 50-100GB capacity would be uh... expensive, and then you get into reliability etc. DVD's and Blu rays are surprisingly durable considering they cost next to nothing, whereas supporting fast flash storage would be troublesome, and artificially limits you in patch sizes for any sort of sensible price point.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170119)

Well, they also might lose a segment of the business, I'm sure isn't quite insignificant...those that buy these systems to PLAY optical media on them.

A couple years back...I gave myself a PS3 for Xmas....for the following reasons:

1. At the time, was a good price on a 3D capable bluray player

2. Plays dvds, CDs...etc

3. Streams Netflix (and now Amazon) ..ok, this one has nothing to do with the drive)

And actually, the fact that it played games, was just a bonus. I've not tried to play many on it yet....still having trouble learning all the damned controls on the thing...and 3rd person perspective still get me. I try playing Red Dead Redemption, someone starts shooting me, next thing I know I'm either staring at the ground or up in the sky and getting shot....and then die.

Oh well...but anyway....I'd have to think at least in the past that would be a significant market. Some of us that lay out good cash for a higher end TV and audio system...prefer to watch our media from a format that can give the full HD experience, and have full 7.1 or whatever audio...something even streaming just cannot match...at least, not yet.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170701)

That was a big market for Blu ray adoption. That's a big deal for Sony, and a large part of how they 'won' that format war. But I doubt MS gives a shit either way. Selling a 500 or 600 dollar console (or more than that even) that doesn't offer any *new* optical player probably isn't a good plan. Not when you can get a blu ray player for under 100 bucks these days.

If they have some new optical medium to fight over then sure, but I would be surprised if anyone wants to bark up that tree again so soon, if ever.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170795)

When PS3 first came out, I bought one because I wanted Blu-Ray and I could get a stand alone player for $500 or get a PS3 and have a game console for the same price. The difference though is that back then you only HAD a choice of $400+ Blu-Ray players. I can go down to Wal-Mart and get a Blu-Ray player w/ Netflix etc for $60 on sale. So unless I just realllly wanted a console, I could put a player in every room for that much. The point is that Sony might have lost that business several years ago, but there are alternatives now.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170359)

Some people have no broadband. Some are dialup only. Some have spotty coverage. Some have caps. Some do not have internet access in the room where the game console is.

The idea of this on a game console is silly. Game consoles are supposed to be the easy dumbed down system. Buy it, plug it into the TV, let the kids play games from the couch. This will not work with internet downloads except for a very few. The people who do digital downloads on PCs are a small fraction of the market.

Then there's the issue of DRM. Digital downloads means you can't give your game to your friend when you get tired of it. Companies are bypassing doctrine of first sale and are essentially only renting you games (maybe not a problem for the kids who only play what's currently hot and popular).

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170761)

So first off, about 70-75% of all consoles have always on internet. Secondly the primary market isn't kids, it's adults, the so called 18-36 although now it's more like 15-45 year olds, mostly men. Third, the download services (PSN, XBL and on PC Steam etc. ) have all been quite successful.

You're right, in that it's completely unreasonable to expect someone on a 1MB/s DSL to try and download a 20-50GB game, which is why you can't have download only consoles. But expect much deeper integration between what you get on disk and the online service it's connected to.

Realistically, by the time you can download games of that size you'll be able to just stream the content with dumb terminal anyway, and won't need any hardware in the console. Which is probably another generation or two away.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

mk1004 (2488060) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170665)

They want you on-line during play so that even if you copied the disk, you'll have to pay to play. IMO, they should sell the distribution disk for cost and have people pay to 'activate' and play on-line. If you have the bandwidth they could let you download the image at no charge rather than buy the disk. This model does kind of suck for games that could be played off-line, but that's the way I expect them to go. You don't need copy protection--the disk is worthless unless you have a paid account. Kills GameStop/used market.

E.g. six months of on-line access at $10/month instead of $60 for the disk. Another option would be to charge $60 for the disk and with that you get six months on-line access. Dollars vary; they want some average amount from each user and they'll base the access/month charge based upon how long they think the game will hold the average player's attention. Might even help the quality of the games since they'll want you to keep playing as long as possible.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

Tharsman (1364603) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169873)

Not only speeds, but we have a lot of ISPs now threatening to enforce their paper caps (you know, the ones they have not enforced but we have covered a lot in Slashdot.)

On the article, though... I love how Wall Street Journal reports on the dismissal of a rumor no one ever confirmed. I was sure these things would have disk drives, it's obvious. Bandwidth is not the only issue, complete absence of internet connectivity is still an issue in many households that own XBox, be it a full household thing or just restrictions on the kid's console alone.

The real questions I have:
Will I get day-one digital download access if I do have internet, or will publishers be allowed to side on FUD and not distribute digitally?
Better: will perhaps I get earlier access if I decide to buy digital or will I have to wait for the brick & mortar launch date?
Will non-transferable digital only copies be cheaper?

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169939)

Internet speeds also suck at distribution points. Every time I tun on the PS3 it needs another frickin update before it will let me play. But, the worst part is that the download takes 30 minutes or more despite the fact that I am on a 15Mbps connection.

But, the real problem, that no one seems to see as a problem, is that online only games evaporate after a couple or three years. Whereas you can drag out a Nintendo 64 and play Super Mario Brothers to this very day. You'll be hard pressed to get today's hottest online only game working in three years time because the servers will have been shutdown due to lower player counts or Sony's decision that everybody needs to upgrade to PS4.

I'm not saying I'm opposed to online games. I love them! But, I don't want that to be my only option. You can make all the get off my lawn jokes you like, but I still like owning physical media that I can use whenever I choose to. Screw online only distribution and Digitally Restricted Media.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (1)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170099)

Every time I tun on the PS3 it needs another frickin update before it will let me play. But, the worst part is that the download takes 30 minutes or more despite the fact that I am on a 15Mbps connection.

Updates don't come that often. But I agree, Sony's download speeds leave much to be desired. To the point where people have put together PC proxies to help speed things up [ps3hax.net] .

But, the real problem, that no one seems to see as a problem, is that online only games evaporate after a couple or three years... I don't want that to be my only option.

I don't see it as a problem in that there are plenty of single-player games still. Actually, relatively few games are online-only. And even downloadable games can be run so long as the DRM server somewhere is running. Those are much lower bandwidth than servers handling actual gameplay, and only rarely get shut down.

Re:Internet Speeds Suck (0)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170501)

Having owned both a Xbox 360 and PS3, I have to say that Sony's updates are the worst. Why they take so long is beyond me. But there are a lot more of them and they take a LOT longer to download than on the 360. Not sure if Sony forces you to download the entire package every time, or if they're bandwidth just sucks. But it's annoying as hell.

bbbbut downloading is so cool (2)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169487)

optical disks i can use anywhere are for grandma

downloading the same games that are locked to my console is so much cooler and sexier. its like 3g vs wifi. 3g is awesome compared to grandma's wifi.

Re:bbbbut downloading is so cool (2)

PTBarnum (233319) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169803)

Don't worry, Microsoft and Sony will make sure that the optical disks have the same sexy restrictions as downloaded content.

Re:bbbbut downloading is so cool (2)

k3vlar (979024) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170003)

Probably true.

If the console is "digital download focused", it's likely the game on the disk will be a hard-copy of the downloadable files, with a code to unlock the game. You insert the disk, enter the code, authenticate with your account, wait for the files to install, and then promptly throw all physical media away, because it's useless to anyone else now.

For households with no internet, you'll have to do phone activation.

... I'm sad now. We live in a horrible world.

Re:bbbbut downloading is so cool (2)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170259)

... I'm sad now. We live in a horrible world.

Why get sad? Just don't buy it.

Re:bbbbut downloading is so cool (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170401)

Yes the Old stuff is much better then the new crap.
3g is a particular generation of broad long range wireless, Wi-Fi is a general term for short range wireless. You are comparing apples to oranges.

There is also a lot of cost added to software due to it being in a media form. Digital downloads are actually a much more affordable easier process, why do you think you can get games for your Andoid/iPhone for only a couple of buck while the console costs a lot more.

You got the cost of making the material and shipping it to the stores (That is relativity cheap maybe a few bucks) Then you have to need to price it to make it worth it for it to be in the stores. Inventory costs are high. If a store is making 20% profit off of a game they are only going to stock games that cost more so it is worth it for them to sit on their property. If you have a cheap game, it will only be worth it if it has volume, say you are restocking the shelves every day. Because the store owner has to pay rent power and employees taxes... Oddly enough if the game maker makes the game too inexpensive then the store owners will not buy the game as it will cost them too much money if they sell slowly.

Now for digital downloads, storage is cheap, and off of one copy of the game you can download it millions of times. If the game doesn't sell as much you are not loosing that much off it just sitting there, so you can sell games for a few bucks or a higher quality one for say $20 vs. where the crap games start at $15 and go up to $100 per title. Plus also you have the convince factor, if you want to buy a cheap game, you can go ahead do it 24/7 as an impulse buy and not wait and go to the store giving you plenty of time to decide not do buy it.
Now that is a reason other the DRM why companies prefer Downloads.
Why would you prefer downloads over Optical Media.
1. You are getting cheaper games.
2. You don't need to care for the media. (My friend yelled at his son for not putting the XBox disks back and away, because they are expensive to replace)
3. You can always get a new game.

Now the part I am worried about are the Game Retail stores, would be most hit by downloads.

Reminds me of the old quote... (5, Insightful)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169493)

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway. â"Tanenbaum, Andrew S.

Re:Reminds me of the old quote... (5, Funny)

ninjackn (1424235) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169567)

As a gamer I generally care more about latency than bandwidth.

Re:Reminds me of the old quote... (5, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169801)

If you try to download a 20 GB game over 5 GB/mo satellite Internet access, you'll have 4 month latency.

Re:Reminds me of the old quote... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169659)

this made me laugh so hard i shot coffee out my nose.

Re:Reminds me of the old quote... (0)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170175)

is that more or less than the flight speed of an unladen swallow?

Good. (3, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169501)

(1) My 750k internet would take 7 days to download a 50 gigabyte Bluray-sized game. (2) Easier to just buy the disc from amazon and have it shipped to me. (3) Plus when I get bored with the game I can sell the disc and recoup my money. Example: I played Final Fantasy 12, thought it was kinda boring, and sold it for $55. Recovered my money.

Re:Good. (5, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169553)

(1) My 750k internet would take 7 days to download a 50 gigabyte Bluray-sized game. (2) Easier to just buy the disc from amazon and have it shipped to me. (3) Plus when I get bored with the game I can sell the disc and recoup my money.

That they will support physical media doesn't mean they will play used games.

Re:Good. (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169593)

how are they going to lock out used games on physical media? they will just lock out levels and characters so you are in effect playing an extended demo unless you buy the whole game

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169717)

no they will lock ENTIRE game (like one i bought diablo 3 and startraft 2) and you will still have to be connected to internet WHOLE TIME while playing disc will be useless unless you activate game on your account, and you can activate game only once so no reselling possible

Re:Good. (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169983)

D3 and S2 have battle.net. lots of good games from devs who don't have their own backend clouds like EA/Activision and won't bother with this

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170617)

Of course, there's plenty of ways to lock out used game sales without needing your own server cloud thingy. For instance they aren't saying anything about whether or not you'll need to register your games on the console through the internet even if there will be an optical drive.

There's also Sony's old patent about including a section of the disc that when exposed to air, would decay within a few days making it unreadable. So you'd have to buy the game, rip the protective film off and install your game within that day. After that, you're shit out of luck, as is anyone who may want to buy it used. They used this kind of stuff for "DVD rentals" that you didn't actually have to return. Pay money for it, and within a few days it became unreadable. That little scam didn't even last a year around where I live. Haven't seem'em since.

My advice? If it concerns you (And it really should) then don't pre-order the console when the time comes. Wait to see if others get bitten first by "undocumented features" like online registration, etc.

Re:Good. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170901)

Bethesda softworks (owned by Zenimax) don't have their own cloud, they use steamworks. As does the total war series.

The PSN and XBL will almost certainly be a cloud service like steam, where any game released on those consoles are activated on those clouds.

Re:Good. (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169719)

Its easy, if the game's encoded serial number has already been registered on another console, it wont play. Child's play for a modern console.

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169721)

Is this is a serious question? Can you truly not imagine a way to lock out a used game?

.

.
Ok. I'll give you a second to think about it?

.

.

.

Still no idea? Here:
1) Create an account for a user. Bonus points to have a bunch of games all attached to the same account.
2) Require a log in with this account to play the game.
Now: to sell the game would require selling the account (and its password). Ostensibly you only allow them to change the username once, so that its resale value is significantly diminished. Using a physical medium to distribute the large data files in no way affects the kind of DRM the system can use.

Re:Good. (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169735)

The same mechanism that prevents access to multiplayer can also be used to prevent access to anything in the game. Why do you think EA forces you through their Origin servers when you play on the Xbox?

Re:Good. (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169797)

They could do either. Many of the games we get now are barely more than demos, where the single-player game is just a tack-on and most of the multiplayer content gets released as paid DLC, either in unit purchases or by annual subscriptions. The $60 up-front fee is just to get you in the door.

I mean, who bought any of the CoD games for the single player? Nobody I know. And now they're locking up the mp updates behind subscriptions that cost as much as the game did. I'm off that train now, but I'm sure there are millions that aren't.

I'd guess it's transitional, and I won't be surprised when they sell mostly useless discs as just a workaround for bandwidth limitations. Everyone seems hell-bent on killing the secondary market, and they have every necessary tool to do it.

Re:Good. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169805)

It wouldn't be hard. Essentially they activate the game to the first console you play it on, and require an internet connection to start the game.

I'm not saying they'll do that, but they easily could.

Re:Good. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169821)

Our old friend the burst cutting area [wikipedia.org] can fairly trivially assign a machine-readable unique ID to a disk.

Assuming a locked console(not implausible, unless the next generation is weaker than the present one), it would take next to no bandwidth and local storage to keep a local database of 'authorized' disks, refuse to play any others, and, upon encountering a new disk, query the server to insure that it hadn't already been authorized elsewhere.

If you had to work with no bandwidth at all, a modification of the disk format, allowing the first console that encounters the disk to permanently modify it in some way(eg. tiny sliver of writeable area, that the console writes a signed block of data to on first insertion(and verifies on subsequent insertions, so you can't just cover it with tape).

Not 100% foolproof; but you just have to make resale uneconomic...

Re:Good. (1)

hendridm (302246) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169829)

Well, they could still use the physical media to delivery the bulky parts of the game, but still require an internet connection to authenticate your product key, which could be non-transferrable. Make it so once you register the game under your online account, that key can only be played by that account. You could sell your account with each game, but that could be very problematic and annoying.

Facebook games like to do this now. Once you register your character under a specific Facebook account, you can't sell the account because it is bound to your Facebook ID. Of course, people create lots of face Facebook IDs, but it's hard to say how convenient this would be on an online gaming environment (which may be linked to your console serial, and may also be annoying to have multiple accounts to log into for the various games you play).

It's all evil.

How to store a serial on a game disc (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169905)

how are they going to lock out used games on physical media?

I'm not all that familiar with Blu-ray Disc's physical layer, but DVDs have a millimeter-wide Burst Cutting Area in which the factory can store some information in a disc that is already pressed. It can most clearly be seen on GameCube and Wii game discs, which also have six pinholes in the lead-in whose precise sector location is stored in the BCA. This photo [wikipedia.org] shows an example of a BCA and pinholes in a Wii disc. If BDs have a BCA or something analogous, it could be used as a serial number to associate with a specific console or a specific Xbox Live or PSN account.

Re:Good. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170265)

how are they going to lock out used games on physical media?

One way would be to sell media separate from licenses, and use all DRM mechanisms on the console to assure that you have a license, whether or not you have the media.

Note that Microsoft's concern cited in TFS isn't access to internet connectivity, its access to internet bandwidth. License verification may be connectivity-dependent, but it isn't bandwidth-dependent the way that delivering the whole game content online would be.

Re:Good. (1)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170273)

"how are they going to lock out used games on physical media? they will just lock out levels and characters so you are in effect playing an extended demo unless you buy the whole game".

Yes. Capcom shipped Street Fighter X Tekken with a bunch of finished characters locked on the disc. The characters are finished and playable if you flip a switch within the game's code or by purchasing (the still unavailable) DLC.

Mass Effect 3 had content on the disc that was only playable if you purchased a DLC code to unlock the content. There is an NPC companion already on the disc and fully functional but the character is locked until you purchase the $10 DLC code to unlock him.

Now imagine instead of locking you out of a few characters the game locks you out of the entire game until you purchase a one-time use code that unlocks the game. You'll go to the store, buy the disc, and then be required to purchase an 'online pass' style code to unlock both the online and offline features of the game.

Re:Good. (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170475)

Tie it to an account, like with Valve games on PC

Re:Good. (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170627)

Sony doesn't want to lock out used games. Sony is still making good money off the PSP and PS2. These consoles run nothing but used games at this point.

Re:Good. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170861)

The same way steam does it. The disk you bought, and the licence with it entitles your account to activate that key on your account. You can pass the disk around all you want, without a licence key the disk can copy the data files but has no other value since the game isn't active on any other account but yours. Theoretically you could build the system to allow any disk to be put a console, and without valid key it simply takes you to the PSN/XBL store where you can activate it for the appropriate fee.

Enough of the consoles have access to internet (about 75% ) that they will happily lop off the non net connected portion of the market and eliminate the used games business.

A good chunk of those non net connected consoles are probably just not in use over the sampling period, or are used as dedicated media players. The latter case is irrelevant since the PS4 and Xbox 3 are probably not releasing a new media format (like blu ray was), so they can't and won't compete with dedicated players.

Re:Good. (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169871)

>>>That they will support physical media doesn't mean they will play used games.

On the day that happens, such that I can no longer sell my used discs to other people, I will stop buying any games priced higher then $10. Unless it's a top title like Final Fantasy or Xenosaga*, then I'll pay the $20 greatest hits price. Why? Because I have a game collection extending from the present all the way to 1977. I can live without the new stuff, since I have tons of other games to keep me busy..... just as I rarely buy new TV shows/movies but mostly just watch the old stuff for free (antenna).

*
*Was this game/story ever finished, or did they just cancel it midstream?

Re:Good. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170373)

I haven't bought a game in 12 years, but have enjoyed all of the AAA games on my Wii and PC.

Get with the program, fagg3et.

Re:Good. (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170429)

Ya, a lot of PC games come with keys that can be used only once, or they're steam games where you still have to authenticate online and spend a couple hours downloading patches before playing. Game distributors have figured out that the market will put up with any amount of abuse as long as they can get the cool games that the other kids at school are playing.

People are misunderstanding Sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169523)

The Playstation 4's optical drive will actually be powered by a specially cloned human eye. It will better tie-in to the organic AI subsystem. Unfortunately, this is expected to reduce the yield to roughly 1 Playstation 4 per year. This may not be a problem, however, as the device is expected to have a starting MSRP of $2.99 billion.

Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169529)

I hope they offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive... and of course provide a way to take all existing disk-based games and upload them onto the new machine... cuz it'll have back-compat right?

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169587)

Well there's that (nifty SKU possibility). However, the way some things are headed, why have any hardware at all? The only hardware you need is a screen to display the content/produce the sound which has been generated in the cloud... Buying games digitally there is a nop for bandwidth if the game is already in the datacenter.

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (2)

Dewin (989206) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170159)

However, the way some things are headed, why have any hardware at all? The only hardware you need is a screen to display the content/produce the sound which has been generated in the cloud...

And perhaps a controller or other input device.

It's been done before... [onlive.com]

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169605)

and how am i supposed to watch blu ray's without an optical drive?

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169757)

1) buy a dedicated blu-ray player
2) buy the sku that does have a drive
3) just stream it instead

Your poor planning in building up another useless media library of physical disks shouldn't be a hindrance to the rest of us

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (4, Funny)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169831)

and how am i supposed to watch blu ray's without an optical drive?

The same way you make toast, despite the fact that your PS3 doesn't have an integrated Toaster slot.

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (5, Funny)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170367)

The last time I tried to watch a blu-ray disk the same way I make toast the disk didn't support it very well.

Re:Offer a SKU that does not have an optical drive (1)

lilfields (961485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169783)

I think it's well established that Microsoft will release an Xbox that will be SSD only, merely to compete with the AppleTV (not worth competing with) but it does expand their market.

Wow! (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169543)

Executives realized that in the real world their desire to axe the optical drive would be outweighed by most people in the US having crappy bandwidth. I never thought our terrible US bandwidth would turn out to have a silver lining.

Yes a US centric post, because while many other places have far better bandwidth, they just don't have the market presence plurality that the US does. For better or worse the US by and large defines the world market on such things...

Re:Wow! (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169733)

I dont think you understand, this changes nothing other then the BoM cost. Operationally, NOTHING has changed, and having the optical drive in no way hinders their used game sales war.

Re:Wow! (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170841)

I do understand, this has a slight change on the BoM cost. Unfortunately they will almost certainly find a way to fight used game sales. My point was one of bandwidth and downloading. I never argued that this would help people on 'owning' disks and being able to 'sell' them when they wanted.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169847)

For better or worse the US by and large defines the world market on such things...

Keep telling yourself that there Hoss.

People play video games all over the world.

Re:Wow! (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170749)

You missed the part about a plurality. I'll let you look up the meaning of that word by yourself. Once you've done that you can come back and tell me any other country comes anywhere as close (within an order of magnitude) of having the plurality of market-share of that the United States does. Once you've done that you will have a leg to stand your argument on.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169989)

Executives realized that in the real world their desire to axe the optical drive would be outweighed by most people in the US having crappy bandwidth.

There are also places with even worse bandwidth... or data caps; e.g., Canada (and by Canada I mean data caps, not bandwidth).

Re:Wow! (1)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170793)

Absolutely, Australia is even worse than Canada for bandwidth. My point is that if the market with the plurality of market share can't come close than fair chunks of the rest of the world can't either. Whilst certain countries (South Korea, Sweden etc) have great bandwidth, most countries just can't touch the bandwidth needed to get rid of the optical drive.

Re:Wow! (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170935)

For better or worse the US by and large defines the world market on such things...

No, it doesn't. Lots of the world has widespread internet that is unsuitable for 20-50GB downloads on a regular basis. You can't base a console on only being useful in Japan, south Korea and a handful of major cities elsehwere.

I prefer discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169575)

I prefer using optical discs
It just feels so much better looking at my shelf to decide what I want to play this time around.
Plus I would prefer not to be constantly downloading, using up a large portion of my limited downloads and using up unessecary power.

Bandwidth isn't the only problem (5, Interesting)

rokstar (865523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169615)

Data caps present another problem. There are plenty of multi disc games out these days and the size is likely only increase as time goes on. The prospect of blowing through a significant chunk of your monthly data limit on a video game could easily discourage sales.

What's the problem, Sony? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169619)

I don't know why [google.com] Sony would be skittish about going online only.

Re:What's the problem, Sony? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169883)

The, er, superb performance of the diskless PSP Go probably didn't help. And that was a design that axed a disk that everybody loathed and mocked...

Brick and Mortar Game Stores... (1)

Bookwyrm (3535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169629)

It must have been a lively debate internally about this. I am sure many inside the companies were pointing out that by removing the physical media component it would destroy the possibility of game resale and the used game market. However, at the same time it kind of shoots their sales channel in the foot -- there's certainly no incentive for retail game stores or other businesses which make their money on having people come in and buy stuff to sell a device which obsoletes all their current sales and also does not provide for any prospects of future game sales.

Re:Brick and Mortar Game Stores... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169749)

Optical drive has no bearing on used game sales for the next gen consoles. Its completely irrelevant. ALL code you run on your next gen console will have to be internet blessed before it will run. FULL STOP.

Re:Brick and Mortar Game Stores... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169777)

you misunderstood you WILL have physical media but you will NOT be able to resell it anyway because you still need internet connection while playing like diablo 3 or world of warcraft, from the point of view of Sony best of both worlds :)

...sell iProducts (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169991)

there's certainly no incentive for retail game stores or other businesses which make their money on having people come in and buy stuff to sell a device which obsoletes all their current sales

Yet Walmart, Best Buy, and other stores that sell game discs still sell iPod and iPhone products.

Re:Brick and Mortar Game Stores... (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170989)

Given that gamestop which is ~25% of the games market has, through used game sales created an adversarial relationship with all of the major game companies, and most of the smaller ones, I'm sure they'd be happy to see them die a rapid death. What's gamestop going to do, refuse to sell games if they can't be resold used? Good luck with that plan since Bestbuy, Amazon, and Wal Mart (walmart being another 25% of the market) will all sell without used resale.

With the PSN and XBL you do also have a captive market for advertising and sales. I'm not sure how that would work out, but foot traffic buys in stores aren't what they used to be, it could conceivably be viable to have an online only sales channel and make a lot more money. Remember, cut sales by 50% but do it all online and we still make about 2x as much money.

Slow internet? Not! Sony's delivery system sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169647)

Seriously, between the takes a day to download a 500 MB demo to possibly the worlds crappies update/patch distribution system... (What? You just spent a day downloading a 500 MB game and upon boot it requires you to update the the game with a 501 MB download that can not be sent to the background!?! Now you're PS3 is locked up doing updates for the next day. So much for playing that game.)

Seriously! WTF!

There has to be another alternative. (1)

dhomstad (1424117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169653)

How about distributing via SD card full of ISO files or something similar. It probably costs way more, but I'll assume there's something else that can compete with optical drives. Maybe allow re-distribution of the installation media, and make users connect online to pay for a "cd"-key (if that's what your company is in to).

Re:There has to be another alternative. (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169943)

Given that even a 25GB BD-R(which is more expensive per unit than the mass produced pressed flavor) only costs a dollar or two, with case, the economics of using SD cards are a trifle questionable...

Re:There has to be another alternative. (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169977)

>>>How about distributing via SD card full of ISO files or something similar

If you're going to do that, you may as well just go back to cartridges. Let's see... the N64's biggest cartridge was Resident Evil 2 at 64 megabytes. The new PS4 will have 50,000 megabyte carts. ;-)

Re:There has to be another alternative. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170651)

SD cards already go up to 64GB, so that does not seem like a problem. SDXC spec goes up to 2TB, so these seems pretty doable.

It would be stupid not to (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169667)

With modern games weighing in at a hefty 5-20GB (depending, sometimes a bit more, sometimes less), even a fairly high speed connection will take hours to download the whole thing, unless you are running FIOS (which most people aren't). Even a 10Mbs connection will take an hour for a 5GB game, assuming it can max out, and that puts a lot of strain on the servers. Disc distributing makes far more sense, especially for consoles which tend to have a "put in the disc and play immediately" attitude.

Mind you, some of the big distributors would absolutely love download-only games, since that would effectively destroy the used-game market and help with piracy issues somewhat. I wouldn't be terribly shocked if many of them decide to not actually use a physical distribution method.

And, of course, DVD/Bluray disc playing is, in my experience, a very significant usage of consoles already, so it would be silly to omit that (except for the movie studios, who again would love to sell you a second, digital and digitally-DRMed version of every movie you already own). But it would remove far too much incentive for people to buy the console, and with the competition between the two sides, neither can risk the other gaining that advantage.

Re:It would be stupid not to (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169961)

With modern games weighing in at a hefty 5-20GB (depending, sometimes a bit more, sometimes less), even a fairly high speed connection will take hours to download the whole thing, unless you are running FIOS (which most people aren't). Even a 10Mbs connection will take an hour for a 5GB game, assuming it can max out, and that puts a lot of strain on the servers.

What if you could optimize the stream so that the stuff came down in the order you needed it? For instance, game engine first, with a low-res set of textures, followed by a stream of higher resolution textures in the order they appear in the game? Or maybe everything you need to play one of the multiplayer maps? You might only have to wait 20 minutes for the thing to be playable, then it could download as you played?

Also, most games are ready in advance of their release date. You might make the downloads availible 3 days before the game servers went live. This would make it so that you could start playing at 12:01 on release day. (Unless you're diablo 3... )

Re:It would be stupid not to (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170687)

That is possible to do. I know game companies have played around with loading the essential parts first, so you can play it when it is only half-downloaded. I am frankly surprised Valve hasn't done work on that for Steam, but I think the problem is it requires a ton of optimization about ordering, since you need to decide exactly what should be downloaded in exactly what order or you will end up with significant hiccups in gameplay (or straight-up crashing). That takes a lot of time to do, and when most game companies can't even remove all the bugs before they ship, I doubt it will become very widespread.

Pre-loading is, of course, a perfectly good option for new releases, but it still prevents an impulsive buy-and-play-immediately, which is (in my experience) a significant part of the attractiveness of consoles. It also requires foresight and that people keep the console on for extended periods of time (while not playing). Not a huge barrier, but it's still present.

Re:It would be stupid not to (2)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170205)

I agree with basically everything you say. But I do think there is another model for game distribution they could have in mind: partial downloads on demand. You buy the game, it downloads 10% of the game and lets you start playing, as you play through it has to download more, and if you never finish the game, it never actually downloads the whole thing. I imagine MMOs already operate this way, so it's not a novel idea or anything, but using it for every game for a console could be a new take on using the technique.

I don't think this is a good idea to do for a console right now because 10% could still easily be 500MB, which can be a daunting download on PSN, even with a good connection. But I can see that being a desired approach for the future from the standpoint of distribution and piracy. People that play 15% of the game download 15% of the game and, since you download the game a chunk at a time as you play, I would imagine there is an argument to be made for how this could prevent piracy.

I don't know if it would actually put a dent in piracy, but I can imagine people convincing execs that it will.

Smart Idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169691)

Most of the gaming world has no Internet. Most of my stays in rural America were low DSL speeds at best, and the unicorn was 2Mbps. Those people were also at the high end of the wage-earning bracket, but the dole-earners still had a modern-generation web-capable console--without Internet. An Xbox can play DVDs and music, so my generation of the lower-class use them as entertainment hubs*. Expecting gaming customers to migrate completely to 'the cloud' would exclude a large demographic.

*Anecdotal evidence from extended-family and friends

Very smart, consoles heavily media oriented (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169701)

More and more game consoles are also media consoles. Shipping without some way to play Blu-Ray and DVD discs greatly reduces the utility of those boxes.

Sure lots of video is moving online, I use that myself quite a lot and it's fantastic. But I also like owning movies, and for the foreseeable future the only way to "own" a movie is on disc.

People also have a lot of existing discs they would like to keep playing...

Re:Very smart, consoles heavily media oriented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169809)

all i have to say, is when dvds are outlawed, only outlaws will have dvds!

Re:Very smart, consoles heavily media oriented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170349)

You know, I bought a SONY PS3 because one of the features was that I could play blu rays. Unfortunately, as I've opted not to yield one of the other features to a malicious firmware upgrade, I can no longer play blu ray discs.
I wouldn't count on your SONY console to do anything more than play the games SONY allows you to play; there are better solutions.

Content only discs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169775)

My guess is that these consoles will use a hybrid approach, similar to how some PC games are shipped. The disc will contain the bulk of the content, the art, levels, music etc that make up >90% of the disc's contents. The executable, however, would be downloaded and signed such that it only runs on that specific system under that specific user account. This would still require a download, but it would be 20gigs.

This way, Sony gets the best of both worlds, they prevent used game sales since the key on the disc is already account bound AND they don't completely screw the regions that have shitty internet connections. The device can also continue to be a bluray player for movies etc.

Thank god for that. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40169799)

Now when are they going to get to their senses and distribute the fabrication to stores and save millions in distribution costs?
They could even lower the cost of gam... ahaha, who am I kidding, they will stay the same?

Send out a locked printing system. You can throw in 5 discs at once, they get burned there and then.
You put in a paper slice, it comes out with the artwork on it.
Assemble the case, done.
One single master disk, locked with a system ID, is sent to each shop that has the hub. Else the companies can still order directly from the company.
The problem will be burning, of course. They'd likely need to have 2 separate heads burning at once for acceptable burn speeds.
They could probably sell them elsewhere too, Sony especially since they do music and film.
They will know to keep a a few disks around after initial rush sales based on their records

No more running out of games that they bought. Now the only problems they will need to deal with is running out of burnable disks and printable covers. Well, ditch the covers, they could buy 10+ covers per disc given the thickness.

Also, lower prices closer to half the price they are now and watch sales more than triple.
Most people buy second hand because they cannot afford initial prices. The lower the price, the more it opens to impulse buys as well.
Game stores know this and they are abusing it for pure profit. And you thought piracy was a problem? You are your own problem, games industry.
Hell, so many industries know this. Why do you think the fast-food industry is so popular? They have stupidly cheap prices on things, sometimes even at a loss, and something else at the absolute bare-minimum profit and see billions of sales due to that. Supermarkets use it too. They cycle through "sales" on common kitchen goods that are pretty much required with OTHER things, so you'll likely get those things too.
This makes so many companies a huge amount of money. I only wish the games industry would realize it and get away from the stupid price points we have now.
Gaming doesn't have to be expensive. They are the ones making it so expensive.

Most people will drop them if they cant buy used. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40169971)

The Used game market is huge, and a MAJORITY of players rely on or use the used market like EB games regularly. I know it pisses off the game makers that us "dirty rotten thieves"(tm) are stealing their money by buying and playing a used game. But most gamers do not buy into their delusion and prefer the lower prices of used games and the ability to sell games for a store credit.

I know I'll stop buying games if I cant buy a disc that I can then later sell used, or buy a older game used.

I never played any of the bioshock games, so I picked up I and II for $9.00 and enjoyed the low cost entertainment. I am actually thinking of trying borderlands next.

I would never have bought any of them at full rape me retail price of $60.00 each.

welp, (2)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170041)

Welp, looks like xbox pulled ahead in this one. Now if I can somehow purchase and play used games on it, we'll have a winner. I refuse to purchase a console where I can't play a damn used game. I'll leave consoles before doing that.

Hoping for flash media (1)

Araxen (561411) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170113)

I was hoping for opitcal to be ditched in the next gen and for the industry to move onto flash media fully. By the time these consoles comes out 16GB of flash media will be pretty cheap.

Re:Hoping for flash media (1, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170629)

By the time these consoles comes out 16GB of flash media will be pretty cheap.

And 50 GB of blu-ray storage is even cheaper.

Re:Hoping for flash media (1)

butchersong (1222796) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170869)

Thats true but while I admit I don't really play any console games these days I would assume load times are going to begin to be a factor. This would seem to me to be a major advantage of external flash or solid state drive in the console.

Suprising, but rational. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170123)

I guess they don't think consumers are ready to give up the idea of owning a physical object. I guess that's not such a bad thing because the disk is an effective physical "token" that proves ownership of the game. In realty that's all it is, that and a cache of content. Pretty much all games now, PC and console, download updated game code and smaller content delta updates before running.

Games and consoles are now too complex for the old "write once and update never" model. Maybe for a disconnected, local only experience. Being connected to the internet requires the above model.

I'll be happy when optical discs die. I expected it to come this generation. Oh well. I mostly play PC games anyway. I don't even put optical drives in computers anymore. (Just have a slim USB dvd burner in the drawer when needed) The only reason I've even touched a game disk in the last 5 years was to retrieve and play old games from box I found in storage. Great old DOS games I run in dosbox.

Still, I like the idea of physical tokens for proof of game ownership. Helps us retain our right of first sale.. Wouldn't it be cool if, say, they were little short range RFID tags embedded in a chunk of plastic or a card? (Containing a cryptographically signed unique ID as proof of ownership, like the function of a serial number) Just have your game collection in a bin next to your console and have instant access to all your games. Game designers could have a marketing opportunity making their RFID tags in unique, pretty shapes. Your hallo 17 collectors edition could be a little helmet with trademark gold visor. Your gears of war 9 could be a pair of COG tags.

In other news... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40170155)

...water is wet, the sky is blue, and bacon is delicious.

Seriously, did anybody actually think otherwise for even a second?

Content already owned (3, Insightful)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170169)

This generation sold as a "media hub" with the capability to play the video discs, play games, and serve apps because they were so expensive. It served a host of needs out of the box. If they drop discs then I can't play my existing media out of the box. I need to drop $500 for a new console and repurchase my media? That is going to cut into the sales figures at least a little.

You expected different? (1, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170251)

It amazes me how clueless gamers are when they think just because they have broadband in their little suburb that the whole world should go digital only.

These systems sell globally and not everyone gets broadband (not even in the US) and a lot of people certainly don't have unlimited bandwidth or even want to let their system run for a day or more to download a game that will no doubt be expensive. Physical media won't be going away for quite some time.

They also released the new console's name! (1)

InvisibleClergy (1430277) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170287)

I heard it was going to be called "The Phantom" before this announcement.

moooovies (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170731)

Also, don't they both want to be media hubs? There's a lot of DVDs and BluRay out there. Be silly to not play them.

Rotational media is dead: USB keys... (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 2 years ago | (#40170939)

Why are we still using rotational media? Why not use one those USB ports for a USB thumb drive? 47 GB is reailly available now and will be extremely cheap by the time these consoles are out.

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