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Sony nixes idea of online-only console, WSJ says

The video game console developer flirted with the idea of dropping the optical drive, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 Microsoft/Sony
Gamers would have experienced an online-only PlayStation console from Sony if the company hadn't pulled the plug on the development, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Sony decided against a download-only plan for its next gaming console and opted to include the traditional optical disk drive, according to the WSJ, which cited unnamed sources.

Online services that allow console users to download games, television shows and music without the need for disks or cartridges are gaining popularity with consumers. The Xbox 360 has evolved beyond a gaming machine and into a media hub.

But the console industry is slow to completely eschew the physical disk, which has long been part of the video game business. In addition, downloading many of the high-end games require quick Internet connections and a lot of time and bandwidth, a sensitive issue with Internet service providers looking to implement data caps. For Sony, the dilemma is heightened by its investment in Blu-ray discs, which are useless if gamers can download games.

The WSJ's other unnamed sources said Microsft is also hesitant to move into online-only gaming and plans to include an optical disk drive into its next Xbox 360 console.

It will be interesting to see if anything rolls out at next week's E3 video game conference. Although companies have said that consoles, save Nintendo's Wii U, are not focus of E3 this time, the WSJ said it expects consoles to make an appearance.