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.

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Hezzron
Hezzron
11 years ago

Carmack…..he must smoke some great weed.

tes37
tes37
11 years ago

He may have smoked himself retarded.

LowKey
LowKey
11 years ago

He's either smoking some really expensive weed or some really cheap crack. I think buddy's huffin a little glue also.

Thrill Kill
Thrill Kill
11 years ago

hmmmm

mexgeo86
mexgeo86
11 years ago

I know I've said this before, but digital media eliminates the possibility to get a refund or an exchange from the vendor. Also, some of us don't have the premium or fastest internet plans/connections so it's going to be difficult to opt for full digital games that are in double digit GB downloads. Finally, if there is no disc drive then how big is the hard drive going to be? 500GB, 1TB, or more?

PS3addict
PS3addict
11 years ago

Umm, once you open the game you own it. Regardless if is is downloaded or purchased, once the seal is broken, that game is yours….
Yeah the issue with only didgital media wil also have problems with recovery as well. I do not want to recover 500gb of data if my HDD dies. There are also ISP's that charge you additional fees if you go over your max bandwidth.


Last edited by PS3addict on 8/11/2009 11:14:59 AM

mexgeo86
mexgeo86
11 years ago

My apologies…I did a quick search of major retailers' return policies and you are correct. Opened video games are non returnable.

jaybiv
jaybiv
11 years ago

Digital downloads also kill the used game market too. I hope this isn't true. I don't mind downloadin a $5 or $10 game direct to the hard drive, but full retail game downloads would not be fun!

nath08
nath08
11 years ago

-PS3ADDICT- yes, that may be true, so why cant you walk into a store, the the box of the game, then walk out without paying? afterall, like you said, once you break the seal, that game is your's!

Bagmup
Bagmup
11 years ago

EB games in Australia has a seven day return policy, opened, played, whatever, it's called the EB rental program lol

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
11 years ago

thats right, I work at an EB Games in a Sydney store. 7 days to play it, as long as its brought back in same condition as purchased, you get your refund. Scratches or damage to disc, book or cover means swap only.

It's a good system. I love working there. ūüėÄ

Warukyure
Warukyure
11 years ago

How about you stop talking Carmack and try to fix Rage, huh? Or are you trying to do this to detour people of its shortcomings? Good Luck…

yak4life85
yak4life85
11 years ago

What a waste of an article! Way too early to even talk about ps4. When we're trying to confirm on something more simple like ps3 slim release date. Don't you think?

bOnEs
bOnEs
11 years ago

i don't like the idea of digital copies for games… that's gonna be one hell of an installation on the HD once you download it… i mean, PS3 saves some game data to the HD so it can run smoother… imagine if it stores the entire game… we're talking about installations at like 100GB a piece (maybe not that big but, not small either)… i don't see what's wrong with offering both the disc and the digital one for those geekers out there who crave new technology… and for the old school guys like myself that enjoy looking at my collection, not scrolling through menus to find it…


Last edited by bOnEs on 8/11/2009 11:20:10 AM

kevinater321
kevinater321
11 years ago

I'm not an old school gamer at all and i love the feeling of driving off to eb games and buying a new game. If movies don't go digital then games will not either.

jaybiv
jaybiv
11 years ago

I feel ya my dude. I love driving home with a new game sitting right next to you in the car. I try to read the instructions and such at stoplights. Ahhhh, simple pleasures.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

It's the highlight of any game buying experience, whether it was when I was a kid holding the game while my dad drove me home from the store or now when I practically wanna seatbelt the thing into the seat next to me on the way home from Best Buy to the cracking of the fresh plastic I love that experience.

You see, that is a foreplay I can truly enjoy ūüėČ

sunspider13
sunspider13
11 years ago

I remember when I first bought my PS with the left over money I had to pay for school. Looking though the many games, looking at the box art, reading the back to get a feeling of what the game might be like. And then talking with the guy at the counter about what I liked and what he thought I would like. I ended up buying FFVII, C:SotN, and Einhander that day and a way of life started.

I don't mind buying digital games like Ratchet Quest for Booty and the like, but full games? Nah wouldn't do it. I'm still looking for games for my PS and PS2 collection. It would be a sad day for gamers if and when for that happens.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
11 years ago

I want my physical media.

ThePearlJamer
ThePearlJamer
11 years ago

I'm not opposed to having both around, but for the foreseeable future it's still physical media for me…

migabyte
migabyte
11 years ago

I have a couple things to say about this. First is that while I have no problem with buying digital games. I am not about to fork over 60$ or more for something I can't resell, or lend to a friend. This is what is wrong with this business model. Also all the money that they save from not having to manufacture it should not just go into the pockets of the developers. I need to see some of those savings. Also PS3 will be around for a long time. History has shown that Sony supports it's systems, and I don't see that trend changing.

SkantDragon
SkantDragon
11 years ago

People that live in areas with strong emphasis on technology and strong internet access tend to forget that most of the world… even most of the United States… is not like that.

Most people are not technogeeks living in a place like Silicon Valley. Arguments about digital downloads tend to include the merits of it for technically oriented people only… and it's questionable even then. But for all the people who aren't technical…

Anyone who wants to argue that downloads are about to take over should try making a list of the complete number of steps necessary to go from opening your brand new PS3 box to playing your first downloaded PSN game.

It's _A LOT_ of steps. And it takes a lot of time and technical knowledge. And there's a lot of potential difficulties when setting it up, too. In fact, most customers are probably not technically savvy enough to do it without help. They have to call their technically oriented friends to help out.

And then think about that versus taking the PS3 out of its box, plugging it in, putting a Blu-ray in the drive, and just playing.

Imagi
Imagi
11 years ago

I disagree, if a system was download only it would be part of the first run wizard, and the system would state that an internet connection was required for use.
Steps..

1:) Buy console,
2:) plug into TV, sound system etc..
3:) Turn on
4:) Internet access selection wizard (Access point/cat5)
5:) Enter existing account details or create a new account
6:) Download game
7:) Play

jaybiv
jaybiv
11 years ago

Disagree yo. A first run wizard does not guarantee connection for someone who doesn't know much about the technology.

Add to the fact that so many things can go wrong before a digital download can run, as a consumer, I wouldn't want to waste my time and energy on it. I'd rather go to the store, buy a disc and pop it in. That's just me.

ShadowRunner
ShadowRunner
11 years ago

@ Imagi
But the time between steps 6 and 7 would be hours or even days depending on your connection speed


Last edited by ShadowRunner on 8/11/2009 12:51:12 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Internet connection wizards almost never work, and when they do they don't work properly. Your average schmo wouldn't be able to do what I had to do, like log into the router, change the setting to open all the proper ports and turn off the DHCP so the system's assigned IP has all the proper access. Demilitarized etc.

Imagi
Imagi
11 years ago

Well first off I am not in favour of such a system, this is all just hypothetical.

Connection speed is a separate issue and am sure would be part or the requirements so it would be the consumers problem. for example, it is not the manufactures problem if you buy a TV and have no TV signal coverage in your area.

Almost all of today's routers/gateway devices have upnp, dynamic ports or similar. IP6 may even be the standard at such a time, either way getting connected is getting easier everyday, so in a few years even a complete technophobe shouldn't break a sweat.

Besides everyone here managed to get their PS3's online, their much of a difference?

oldmike
oldmike
11 years ago

yes but how many ppl will want to BUY that PS4
thats why Onlive will not work
to make cash you want it so any one can use it
not just the top 10% of homes

SkantDragon
SkantDragon
11 years ago

Imagi: Your listed steps #4 – #6 make it sound simpler than it really is by listing an entire process as a single step.

Break it down to the level of button pushes and menu selections. What you've listed as only three 'steps' is actually a great many steps.

Think, for instance, of how many button presses it takes on a PS3 controller just to type in your account name.

Imagi
Imagi
11 years ago

The process could be be encompassed within a single page view/step, once again I was replying regarding a hypothetical download only system, NOT the PS4. If you want to know what I think of this article, scroll down to read what I said before I replied to this post.

A download only system in inevitable, it may be 10, 20 or 50 years away, but it will arrive. The Nintendo Dsi with DSiWare is a good example of such a thing happening now.

Ogibillm
Ogibillm
11 years ago

i don't know kids… i might have thought he was wrong a while back. but broadband is getting into more and more homes.

but i don't think that's what will drive us away from an optical media. flash memory is getting cheaper and cheaper. i think we may actually see a move (likely by nintendo) back to cartridges.

so you could buy your online and download, or purchase it at your local game retailer already loaded up on a flash drive ready to be installed on you machine's hard drive.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

If that happens, I want a bloody price drop of at least 5-10 bucks. If they no longer have shipping costs or manufacturing costs (Disc, manual, and case) then the loss of my collection warrants a break in price.

Imagi
Imagi
11 years ago

The PS4 is so far off it is not worth talking about, everybody wants their ROI yet. Optical/solid state storage will be part of the next gen, their is still a huge proportion of people with no or slow internet connections.

I have always prefered physical media for my games, I hold back from buying any new downloadable game now from PSN just because I have bought titles in the past, only to realise within the first minute of playing it that it is not for me (their should be a timed refund period i.e 24hrs after installation when no demo exists).

Downloadable versions of games is inevitable we will likely see games available in stores and on-line initially just like Warhawk did (though it was cheaper to buy a physical copy in stores than online …wtf..).

Games publishers would like to go all downloadable as it stops the used games market, stops piracy and cuts the game medium production costs, I think we the consumer will be the one that looses out though.


Last edited by Imagi on 8/11/2009 11:39:07 AM

Victor321
Victor321
11 years ago

I might be 15, but I grew up to love owning physical things. So that mentality will stick with me even until my adult years XD


Last edited by Victor321 on 8/11/2009 11:33:48 AM

Baconator101
Baconator101
11 years ago

Well what about DVDs and Blu-ray? The Blu-ray player has been a helpful selling point for the PS3. I don't know, maybe I'm not thinking next gen.

newchef
newchef
11 years ago

the only upside that i see so far for all digital media games is that it will most likely be cheaper because u dont need the price of production of the disks, the storage fees or distribution fees….however since were prolly gonna be used to the $60 price tag publishers may just exploit that and make a couple extra bucks off each sale

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Carmack's a smart guy. However for Sony to push PS4 out the door ahead of everyone else, it will have to be a straight evolution of the PS3, the cost of an entirely new architecture would be way too high in the short term.

If PS4 arrives in the shorter term Carmack is thinking, I'm thinking that it'd be a new Cell chip that's several times more powerful than the current one, sufficiently powerful to handle real time ray tracing work. To meet an accelerated timeline, I'd bet on an uprated RSX that maintains backwards compatibility, but uses wider buses. Since memory is relatively cheap, and Sony is aware of the memory issues that have led to criticism of the PS3 I'd imagine that a PS4 produced in the short rather than long term would include at least 4GB of XDR and at least 512MB of GDDR3 for the GPU. Other than that, I'd expect the PS3 would remain relatively unchanged.

I'll tell you what though, the roadmap IBM has/had for Cell results in a very powerful chip in about 2012. A game console with one of those babies and an evolved RSX would be very, very nice. Remember that the console only has to push 1080p images at most, so an evolved RSX design with more memory (HDR lighting and FSAA/AF) would be more than capable enough. If the new Cell could handle real time ray tracing at 1080 resolutions with the GPU to help apply full screen effects, you'd have a beast.

I have to believe that a long term replacement for PS3 would follow similar lines since doing otherwise scraps the entire investment of the PS3 generation, as well as the compatibility with PS3 generation development. There has been a lot of talk that Sony would select Intel's parallel processing Larrabee chip as their future GPU, and they could do that. A combination of the next Cell BE and Larrabee would be very powerful with regards to physics engines and the requirements of real time ray tracing.

Sony are a smart enough organization to recognize the importance of BOTH digital distribution and physical distribution, especially with regards to in-home video game consoles. Not everyone has broadband, and not all that do have it, have good broadband. So moving exclusively to digital distribution is not possible yet, you exclude too many potential consumers. Besides, they are a major player in BluRay, which isn't going to disappear any time in the next 10-20 years. Not only that, but BluRay can be extended by adding layers, and existing players can be updated by firmware to play quad layer discs, perhaps more. Optical discs are therefore still a very good option for Sony.

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
11 years ago

i believe your referring to the IBM Sequoia

jaybiv
jaybiv
11 years ago

Nice observation. When I first heard about the PS4, I immediately thought continuation of the PS3. If Sony goes this route, they could possibly come in at a lower price point since the bulk of the investment came from developing the Cell for the PS3.

I wouldn't be surprised to see something towards the end of 2010/early 2011.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Sequoia isn't a single chip, it will be a massively parallel processing super computer when built. It'll be based on a CPU built with the 45nm process which may well be a Cell chip. IBM used the PowerCell processors in the current Roadrunner system. PowerCell is a development on the Cell architecture specifically targeted at improving double precision math performance.

The most recent IBM roadmap for the Cell (at least the most recent one anyone's actually seen) calls for a Cell with 4PPUs and 32SPU/SPEs. Since we already know that there have been considerable enhancements to the Double precision performance of the SPEs with the PowerCell CPU, as well as enhancements to the single precision performance, we can expect to see something in excess of 5 times the current performance coming from that future Cell chip, at the same clock speed. It'll also have the ability to switch to a compatibility mode for existing Cell applications.

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
11 years ago

Alright got ya. i just saw IBM and 2012 and i remembered Sequoia, sorry.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Highlander, how does your brain not explode?

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

I'm not sure, the thing is, it's great at snagging tech trivia and what not and terrible at lots of other things.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
11 years ago

You mentioned Roadrunner. Nice!

djjake
djjake
11 years ago

i prefer physical media, means i can sell it on, look for cheaper copies from retailers and means that if somethings wrong i can get my money back easier

just don't like the whole downloading games, would take to much memory and use all my bandwidth

mexgeo86
mexgeo86
11 years ago

plus, physical media can be traded or lent to friends

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
11 years ago

You know they could do the whole thing that DVDs and Bluray did, give a digital copy with the physical media.

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
11 years ago

Why do all of you have bandwidth caps? where do you guys live, here in Indiana, we dont have any. Thats weird.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
11 years ago

Indiana is a small corner of the world, open your eyes to a bigger picture. Just because you have no bandwidth cap, does not mean that others do not.

Bandwidth caps are common in other countries and some parts of the US have them also. Many consumers don't even have a broadband link, and many that do have access speeds that are in the 1-2Mbit/second range which is simply not quick enough to deliver significant amounts of digital media.

JMO_INDY
JMO_INDY
11 years ago

i was just asking because a small place like Indiana dont have them but yet alot of bigger places do. So dont freak out on me, i was just asking.