If history is to repeat itself, then Sony may go with a different format next generation. However, given the advancement and investment in Blu-ray technology, should Sony just stick with the format? And what will Microsoft opt for next generation?
There should be no doubt in anyone mind that Sony and Microsoft will continue to push for digital media. Just by looking at this generation of console, you can already see the push for day-one digital purchases, even going so far to offer pre-orders.
However, to go full digital would be a big mistake. There are some out there who are prepared to take this step, me included, but there is still too much ground when it comes to Internet caps and speed issues. I don't have statistics of the average speed in certain parts of the world, but there are certainly some who have less than 1MB and some who have caps up to 30GB of downloads. Looking at the direction Sony is heading, their first-party titles are only going to continue to get bigger and bigger, and the same with third-party titles that'll most likely go above the 10-12GB average. Digital is a nice choice, but still it doesn't seem like the right time.
Sony has never really stuck with one type of media, despite them getting upgrades in space later on. In honestly, Sony is truly one of those great companies to have when it comes to pushing the boundaries of what our media is stored on. They have been heading the media storage business for a very long time now. Though Blu-ray may actually seem like the one they'll stick to. The issue that Sony will have no doubt to overcome though is the slow disc read in the Blu-ray players themselves; though I'm sure this has already been solved. Currently as it stands, Blu-ray is still a strong format to use, even with third-party titles. Many impressive ones have been released and the only third party dev to ever use the Blu-ray to max is Konami with MGS4, which weighs in at 45GB of the 50GB space available. Sure we'll need to see an upgrade in the disc space, but they have already done that so it's just a matter of which size they'll make the next system compatible with.
I think Microsoft should opt for the disc for a few reasons.
1 - They lost the format war a long time ago - When Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 they spoke about their new HD format known as HD-DVD. While the Xbox 360 game titles still used DVD9, they did supply an add-on to playback movies on the format. Sony launched the PS3 and along with their new format, Blu-ray. The system supported it for both games and movies, and despite Microsoft massive ad department, the support for HD-DVD quickly dropped within a year launch of the PS3 and Blu-ray reigned in on its victory. Slowly Blu-Ray is becoming the format to watch your films on, and with news that it can support 4K resolution it only seems like the plausible choice to go with. Microsoft doesn't even need to have games running on it, just as long as the system can support it to watch films.
2 - It’s a storage that keeps getting bigger- This is continuing from the first reason. Like mentioned, Sony and other format companies have placed much investment in Blu-ray. In 2010 it was revealed that Sony would be teaming up with Japanese Tohoku University to develop a Blue-violet laser to help produce Blu-Ray disc with up to 1TB using just two layers. Additional layers would also be possible. Why is this important? Well during a Sony presentation of the Amazing Spider-man 4K trailer it was revealed that the trailer weighed in a total of 500MB. And this was just a trailer! No doubt that 4K would be compressed for full length films, but Sony wants to start adding 4K Ultra HD to these videos.
3 - More space for Devs (Microsoft) - Look it should come to no surprise that Sony produces some of the best first-person titles when it comes to gameplay, sound, and graphics. All this is possible due to uncompressed data, unlike DVD9 where devs need to compress and even go so far as using multiple discs. It's a nice thing to have, I'll admit that, but with more space on a disc devs will have much more to work with, not just with graphics. The Wii U disc size is 25GB, which is pretty good considering that it's above the 9-12GB limit from before. Of course Microsoft could use a different format, but Blu-ray already is available.
No one can predict what's truly in store for the next PlayStation and Xbox . Rumors have been roaming the net like crazy these past few weeks, but we have to remember that they are just rumors. While I do like the idea of having Blu -Ray further extended, perhaps it is time for a new media. Should consoles continue to even use discs? Floppy drives and cartridge things of the past, but could a SSD be of use in the future for our gaming? Who knows, they certainly are fast though.
Pricing and Piracy/Used Game Market
Look we know the price of $60 per game can't last forever, it'll either have to go up, or perhaps even down. Digital counter-parts for Sony titles are already priced $5 cheaper than the disc version, but it's such a small drop that personally disc is still the way to go. With a bigger size it would mean increase in price (maybe). Would we gamers be willing to spend $70-$80 for a single game? Probably not, and with pricing like that you either have to sell the new consoles extremely cheap or suffer sales.
This brings us to piracy and the used game market. Rumors are that both MS and Sony will limit second-hand sales by making it impossible for the console to even pay the title, unless of course a new license is bought. Many have outraged to this idea, but what if it meant a severe drop in pricing of games? Look, personally the only reason why I sell or trade-in my title is to get a new one. I lack the money from time to time, especially when big releases are so close. If they can get the price lower to say $40 that would give me a reason to support the idea, even if I don't like it it's better than not getting a price cut. Though I doubt we would actually see something like that
So what are your guy's thoughts? Should they go Blue or perhaps start looking at the other colors in the color wheel?