SCEE president David Reeves' has gone on record to state that Sony believes the disc-based delivery system of games "will fall as the power of the network base rises".
Speaking at Sony's developer's conference, DevStation, in London last week, MCV reports that Reeves said:
"We have not got our heads in the sand. To some extent the music industry did – we are trying desperately not to make the same mistakes."
"The next five years are going to be turbulent, but I think it is going to be the most exciting period that we have ever seen in the past ten years of video games," he continued.
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Future proofed PS3
Ian Dean, Editor of Playstation World magazine, concurs, reminding us that "future proof" was a phrase regularly regularly put around by Sony right from the launch of the PS3, and agreeing that:
"This is Sony proofing itself against the disaster the music industry has found itself in. So long as there is choice; choice for consumers to decide if they want Warhawk or MGS4, choice for publishers to maximise revenue, choice for developers to reach gamers in cheaper, more accessible ways, then the idea is sound."
'Key to the future'
Reeves' comments focused particularly on Sony's reports of recent successes of the Playstation Network, saying that the company was "staggered" by recent internal figures which show over 40 per cent of PS3 owners download games direct to their machines.
"The key to the future is the PlayStation Network, Games put straight onto PSN are the big opportunity," said Reeves.
"We do believe that the disc-based delivery system will fall as the power of the network base rises. At the same time, the overall industry growth will continue to go upwards as we push out into emerging markets.
PSM3 magazine wasn't so sure, stating the view that disc-based media is here to stay for a while yet:
"For consoles, digital distribution is a novelty. The PlayStation Store still feels like a testing ground and, with a few exceptions, its downloadable content consists entirely of videos and simple arcade games. Don't expect to see anything to match the likes of PC's Steam for some time. Until more people take their consoles online - hundreds of thousands of PS3 owners still haven't - boxed, disc-based games will still be peoples' first choice."
It's true that Reeves' speech also failed to address how, in practice, digital downloads could replace discs in the current generation of consoles; with blu-ray discs holding 50GB of data, and many games - Heavenly Sword, for example– weighing in at almost half that space, Reeves has not yet made it clear how the PS3's maximum 80GB hard drive will be able to cope with large libraries of games.
Whether Sony are planning vastly increased storage solutions, or even considering eventually streaming games directly to machines from the company's servers, the company is so far unwilling to elaborate, declining to supply Techradar with comment earlier today.