Will Xbox 720 and PS4 Have Optical Drives?

One of the biggest bits of speculation for the next-generation of consoles was whether they would include optical media as an option or not. With the proliferation of fibre optic internet access, it seemed possible that they might not. However the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that download-only consoles are still far in the future, the PS4 and Xbox 720 will both have disc drives.

Ultimately Sony's decision is said to have been made based on the disparity of internet connection speeds around the world. While in a the metropolises of major countries, 100Mbps might be far more common place, out in the sticks, there's an entirely different story. It was also noted, that without optical media as an option, common retail stores would suffer more than they are already.

Unfortunately even with E3 just around the corner, we're unlikely to learn much about Microsoft and Sony's next-gen offerings, with both declining to show off any new hardware. The release dates for the two machines are thought to be somewhere towards the end of 2013, with Nintendo getting a year lead in on the two with its Wii U. That console will be at E3 and is said to be hitting shelves for Christmas 2012.

While download-only consoles will likely appear at some point, it won't be for a few more years. Perhaps when we get the refresh and redesign of the next systems (similar to the slim versions of the current-gen) then we'll see the optical drive removed.

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