Microsoft and Sony to Retain Optical Disc Drives Inside Next-Gen Consoles

Microsoft Xbox Next and PlayStation 4 "Orbis" to Feature Blu-Ray Disk

by Anton Shilov
05/30/2012 | 10:26 PM

Citing slow Internet connectivity in many countries as well as many other reasons, both Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. reportedly decided to retain optical disc drives inside their next-generation game consoles. Given rising requirements for storage space, the two platform holders are likely to use Blu-ray disc technology, including its 100GB/128GB flavour known as BDXL.


Both Microsoft and Sony have considered getting rid of optical disc drives in their next-generation game consoles known as Xbox Next (Durango, Loop, etc.) and PlayStation 4 "Orbis", which would require them to set up datacenters around the globe, but will increase their abilities to sell games directly to consumers located in different parts of the world and therefore improve profit margins. Nonetheless, since Internet connection speeds are generally inconsistent in different locations on the planet, both decided to continue using optical discs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Although Internet speeds in the developed countries are very fast nowadays, optical disks have a number of advantages in addition to carrying new games. Firstly, they allow to avoid installation of costly high-capacity hard disk drives; secondly, they potentially allow previous-generation games to be played on future-generation consoles; Thirdly, optical discs with games clearly make relationship between Microsoft and retailers a lot easier, as the latter are very interested in selling video games, not only game consoles.

Game retailers do understand that eventually packaged media will cease to exist in general, just like it already de-facto happened to music and is about to happen with movies. As a result, many start to sell coupons to get content online.

"If we all agree the technology is inevitable - which I think it is because it is like death and taxes - it is still going to take longer to happen than it did for music and movies," recently said Paul Raines, chief executive officer of GameStop.

As previously reported, Microsoft and Sony have already supplied hardware development kits of Xbox Next and PlayStation 4 "Orbis" game systems to software. Based on unofficial information, both systems utilize accelerated processing units and graphics processing units designed by Advanced Micro Devices.

Microsoft and Sony did not comment on the news-story.