Two separate Sony executives have commented on the future of the PlayStation home console line, with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's executive vice president Phil Harrison suggesting that future PlayStation consoles will not feature any physical media drive.
Harrison’s comments were preceded by increasingly outspoken Sony Computer Entertainment president and CEO Ken Kutaragi, who commented in a BBC Online article
that, “My dream, and the dream of all my team, hasn't finished. In fact we haven't achieved even half of what we're going to do. We want to lead with the PlayStation 3, and beyond that to the PlayStation 4 within the next decade."
Kutaragi’s comments appear to match with previous suggestions from both Sony and NVidia
that the lifetime of the PlayStation 3 is expected to be as long as ten years.
They also marry with comments made by Phil Harrison in an article in Wired magazine
, in which he states, “I’d be amazed if the PlayStation 4 has a physical disc drive”. Although the PlayStation 3 will make extensive use of online distribution and downloads, the infrastructure for an online-only model for game delivery is unlikely to be available in all major territories for some years to come.
Although vague, Sony is the only console manufacturer to give any hint as to its plans after the current “next generation” of consoles, with the only related comments coming from Bill Gates, in which he too agreed
that the currently incoming hi-def physical media "is the last physical media format there will ever be" - though he did not specifically link it to new iterations of the Xbox console.