Sony is fond of its proprietary media formats. The PlayStation 3 uses Sony's Blu-ray discs and the company's mobile offering, the PSP, uses its UMD cartridges (a "Universal Media Disc" that is anything but). The company's been at it ever since Betamax. According to Sony CEO Kaz Hirai, we're in for format wars aplenty if the company has its way.
Sony has said that it expects the PlayStation 3 to last 10 years — twice as long as the usual console and its understood five-year-long lifespan. That means the PlayStation 4 would land somewhere in 2016, making some folks wonder if the PS4 wouldn't go the way of the PSPgo, which eschewed the UMD cartridges for a download-only format.
Sony dashed all these wonders.
"We do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn't as robust as one would hope," Hirai said. There's always going to be requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium. To think everything will be downloaded in two years, three years or even ten years from now is taking it a little bit to the extreme."
Extreme? Yes. Yet you have to wonder — will these big corporations bother putting physical media on store shelves in places where the network infrastructure is robust if no one is buying it?
Personally, I don't see it as that radical as Hirai. I have an optical drive on my PC, sure, but I can't remember the last time I used it. I get all my games off of the likes of Steam, Impulse, GOG and other download services — often for a lot cheaper than you would in a brick-and-mortar store.