Sony has reportedly considered diverging from the game industry's reliance on physical media for its next game console. The company is said to have ultimately rejected the idea for its next-generation device, deciding to maintain the same optical-disc format of existing PlayStation consoles, unnamed sources have told The Wall Street Journal (sub. required).
The company already offers a range of games through its PlayStation Network services, which are available on the PS3, PSP and PS Vita. Users can take advantage of multiplayer gaming or download games, however most of the high-profile games are still released on physical media.
The computer gaming industry has been quicker to experiment with a download-only model, exemplified by Valve's Steam platform for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. The company offers a wide range of games from a number of publishers, including popular series such as Left 4 Dead, Half-Life and Portal.
Sony is said to have backed away from the download-only concept due to the inconsistency of Internet connections across the globe. Some users would be forced to wait for excessive download times in regions where most Interent subscribers have slow connections, while others face usage caps.
Gaming companies will converge in Los Angeles next week for the E3 expo, however Sony and Microsoft are not expected to formally unveil the successors to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 until sometime next year.