Sony and Microsoft are both gearing up for their E3 press conferences next week, and while neither company is likely to shed much (if any) light on next-gen plans, The Wall Street Journal has offered up an interesting tidbit, suggesting that Sony did consider completely abandoning physical game discs for PlayStation 4 but ultimately decided against such a move.
The Journal cites "people familiar with the matter" and notes that Sony is still targeting said, opting to include optical disk drives rather than break with a decades-old model in the industry a 2013 release for the successor to PS3.
While there has been plenty of speculation about the PS4 or "Orbis" possibly including some anti-used games technology, an all digital console certainly would make that a moot point. Ultimately, the report suggests that Sony decided against going all online with Orbis because Internet connectivity is still too inconsistent around the world. Large game files and a bad web connection would not be a good combination for Sony's customers.
If we had to guess, Sony's next-gen console will take an approach similar to Vita, where much of the content is available digitally but will also be sold at brick-and-mortar. As for E3, according to analysts, Sony's focus will be on showcasing its core content on PS3, demonstrating that there are actually plenty of reasons to buy a Vita, and revealing the next phase of its digital plans on PSN.