Sony reportedly considered lopping off the optical disc for the next PlayStation according to a report. The fourth home PlayStation console is currently being targeted for a 2013 release.

However, the Japanese company decided against a download-only model in the end because Internet connections are too inconsistent around the world. Because game files are large, especially in comparison to movies and music, and it would be to the serious detriment of customers who didn’t have reliable broadband access.

Microsoft is also apparently putting in an optical drive into the next Xbox for similar reasons. Neither Microsoft nor Sony officially commented on the matter.

The success of the next PlayStation is especially critical for Sony and new CEO Kazuo Hirai, who came from a gaming background and is trying to prop up the other failing parts of the company. Sony also delivers content to the living room via their consoles, making it key for multiple reasons.

While the next generation of consoles will still sell physical games, even GameStop realizes that a digital only future is coming, and are looking to mitigate that by selling gift cards for digital purchases and codes for DLC. “If we all agree the technology is inevitable—which I think it is because it’s like death and taxes—it’s still going to take longer to happen than it did for music and movies,” said GameStop CEO Paul Raines.

Source: The Wall Street Journal