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There is a rather clear trend towards digital distribution of various content, including electronic books, movies, music, video-games and so on. However, a high-ranking executive of Sony Computer Entertainment believes that high-profile blockbuster games for PlayStation 4 will be still distributed on optical discs.

It is relatively easy to distribute books or music via the Internet due to high-speeds and relatively small file sizes. However, movies and video games can now require from 8GB to 50GB and need either dual-layer DVD or dual-layer Blu-ray disc (BD) media to be distributed. Quite naturally, it is hardly convenient to download such games or movies, moreover, forty 50GB titles require 2TB of storage, an unbelievable amount for 2006, when the PlayStation 3 was released. Needless to say that going forward storage requirements will only grow. Sony believes that even when the PlayStation 4 is release, optical discs will still be required for high-profile titles, whereas smaller games can be released digitally.

“Game developers now have to use the entire capacity of a Blu-ray disc. In addition, we also offer smaller titles from the PlayStation Store, but the big blockbuster games will continue to appear on media,” said Shuhei Yoshida, senior vice president of product development at Sony Computer Entertainment America, in an interview with VideogamesZone.de web-site.

Even though Mr. Yoshida did not confirm that PlayStation 4 will use Blu-ray disc or a next-generation optical format, it is highly-possible that the console due in several years will use optical discs to store huge next-generation video games. Moreover, considering the fact that Sony is working on increase of per-layer capacity of BDs, whereas other companies propose multi-layer Blu-ray media. The bottom line is that even with BD it may be feasible to store hundreds of gigabytes of data in the next five years.

At present X-bit labs is running a poll on the front page asking which product categories, technologies or trends do our readers expect to cease to exist by 2020. Among other technologies in such “death row” there are packaged media and optical discs. Will they cease to exist in ten years? Tell us your opinion!

Tags: Sony, Blu-ray, Playstation

Discussion

Comments currently: 6
Discussion started: 01/12/10 07:46:54 PM
Latest comment: 01/26/10 08:01:20 PM
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1. 
As much as I hate it, I think we have one more gen left in us. The fact that HVD is backwards compatible with blu-ray really does seem prolong the likelihood of hard media continuing to exist until at least the end of the next console generation.

There has been some kerfuffle about Nintendo collaborating to use a holographic disc drive on their next system. Sony and M$ both also seem to be looking into it. For both it seems likely: M$ because they hate Sony and don't want to use a straight BD-ROM, but would get the support anyway with a HVD drive, and SONY because they could tout it as the evolution of Blu-ray with backwards compatibility. With these inevitabilities and the likelihood of consoles becoming many peoples' HTPC-like media centers come next-gen, I think media is here to stay. Maybe not until 2020 (for new standards), but at least the foreseeable future.
0 0 [Posted by: turtle  | Date: 01/12/10 07:46:54 PM]
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2. 
What I don't understand is how game developers are utilizing full 50GBs of space for a single game on PS3. PS3 is still unable to provide better graphics than Xbox360, yet they share a lot of common games (COD:MW2, Assassin's Creed 1&2, etc.). However, developers for the 360 are able to fit the same games on 4x-5x less available capacity? Further, PC games are even smaller and have better graphics than both. I can't imagine that PS3 is using FLAC sound source for music? Or is it hours of useless CGI cinematics in cut scenes not present on PC?

The way I look at it is that if you give developers 1TB of space, they will use as much as they can because there is little need to use compression techniques, etc. How on earth do 50GB PS3 look so outdated (textures, complex shaders, etc.)? What exactly is taking all this space (inefficiently)?

0 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 01/13/10 01:50:42 PM]
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Better graphics? Both consoles are using graphics chipsets designed around DX9 technology. The Xbox 360 might be more powerful but it can't do better graphics.
0 0 [Posted by: JonMCC33  | Date: 01/15/10 11:19:04 AM]
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MS being involved in this means they are doing dirty business. I suspect they even go as far as paying game developers to not polish the games to look better on the PS3. If you want to know about games with better graphics then you need to look at exclusives. Uncharted 2 is unanimously agreed to be the best looking console game ever and everyone agrees that the PS3 has better graphics than the 360.

As far as the BD limitations are concerned, it should be noted that MGS4 could possibly not be ported to the 360 even if microsoft paid tons of money to Konami because they would simply have to ship the game in at least 6 DL DVD discs. If you look at the 360 FFXIII version then you will know that it uses compressed cut scenes and some scenes were even deleted from the game so that it could fit into the 360 version. Its totally not cool that PS3 gamers suffer because of an inferior system backed by an arrogant egoistic corporation.
0 0 [Posted by: PFX  | Date: 01/26/10 08:01:20 PM]
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3. 
The games common between the PS3 and 360 obviously don't show many differences, however the top PS3 exclusives like the Uncharted games are better looking than 360 games, as are an increasing number of upcoming games (GT5, Heavy Rain and GOW3 are all looking well beyond the capabilities of the 360).

You're definitely right that developers will use whatever space is available. Textures can be higher resolution, but importantly, more textures can be used so there is more variety in the game world - e.g. avoiding tiling the same small texture across an entire wall. Also given plenty of space, textures used on multiple levels might be present multiple times on the disc. This means the game can stream a big chunk of data rather than seeking for lots of small files - leading to quicker load times.

I believe audio is primarily compressed MP3, but some games have a substantial background soundtrack and including all the sound effects that can be added if you're not short of space, you may well end up with a few hours of audio within a game. Also the sum of all the pre-rendered cutscenes adds up to a lot of space.

PCs are substantially more powerful than either console so direct comparisons here aren't like for like.
0 0 [Posted by: asc99c  | Date: 01/13/10 02:50:58 PM]
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4. 
With the nand chips progress a read only flash card is the future media. Like in the days of ROM cartridges.
The major problem of bluray is NOT capacity but SPEED. Do u want your next generation games to load several GB of data minutes long ?
Optical drives cd/dvd/blueray were designed for media streams and have weak bandwith and horible latencies. And they can be easyly pirated.
With flash today we can reach several hundred MB/s and capacity over 64GB. And u could forget hdd instals, in fact it would be several times faster than a mechanical hdd.
With time span from lets say beyound 2012-2013 to way beyound 2020 the Blue ray will be light years beyound flash nand chips. And nand chips can get smaller and cost less almost every year unlike BD optic drives where u cant change much.
0 0 [Posted by: Zool  | Date: 01/14/10 12:38:59 AM]
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