Most people agree that the next generation of consoles is still a ways off, especially in regards to Sony. They have often said the PlayStation 3 has a 10-year lifespan and we're less than 3 years in…but this hasn't stopped speculation on the PS4.
id Software's Technical Director John Carmack says that although the next PlayStation machine isn't exactly around the corner, he believes Sony may want to be the first to market. This would be in an effort to get the jump on Microsoft and Nintendo, as they did back in 2000 when they launched the PS2 a full year ahead of the Xbox and GameCube. In an interview with MCV , Carmack said:
"The whole jockeying for who's going to release the first next-gen console is very interesting and pretty divorced from the technical side of things. Whether Sony wants to jump the gun to prevent the same sort of 360 lag from happening to them again seems likely."
He went on to say that he'd like to see the current generation "stretch as long as possible," probably so they – as developers – have more time to become accustomed to the hardware. But he also brought up another point, and it's one that analysts and journalists have been debating since the advent of digital downloads: might the next round of consoles be without an optical disc drive for physical media? Might they simply operate entirely off digital downloads? Well, Carmack believes that at least one of them will:
"I think there's a decent chance that one of the next-gen consoles will be without optical media. The uptake rates of people who have broadband connects surprised everyone this generation. It's higher than what the core publishers and even the first party people expected."
Well, that may be, but I still want my game collection. You know, the one I can see and touch. The one with box art; the tangible thing I can point to and say, "that's mine. That's years and years of collecting." But hey, I'm old-school. I guess new gamers have no interest in that type of thing.