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Sony PlayStation 4 will not be download only

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Sony's next PlayStation will feature an optical drive - Blu-ray, presumably - after all. Plans to drop disc and go download only have been seemingly shelved.

The change of mind was signalled by the inevitably anonymous moles claimed to be familiar with what the Japanese giant is up to.

They also told the Wall Street Journal that the current thinking at Sony is that the 'PS4' will be out in time for the 2013 Christmas sales season, though whether that's a global launch point or, as before, Japan first, isn't clear.

Games are increasingly being acquired through downloads rather than physical media, with Valve's Steam service leading the way, albeit in the computer rather than console arena.

But Sony, it seems, feels that too many punters either want physical media - which they can, of course, sell when they've finished with the game - or lack sufficiently broad broadband to cope with multi-gigabyte downloads.

Fitting an optical drive to a console adds about $20 (£13) to the Bill of Materials (BoM), worth dropping in these margin-obsessed times. So it's perhaps not hard to imagine Sony - Microsoft too, for that matter, since it has been struggling with the notion of dropping optical drives - offering a disc-less console alongside a premium model to see where the punters stand on the matter.

Earlier this year, it was claimed that Microsoft was considering getting rid of the next Xbox's optical disc, though it now looks that that will not be the case. ®

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