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Sony exec hints at disc-free future for consoles

With just months to go before the launch of the PS3 and the debut of Sony's costly Blu-ray format, worldwide studios president Phil Harrison has hinted that consoles will no longer feature disc drives in the future.

With just months to go before the launch of the PS3 and the debut of Sony's costly Blu-ray format, worldwide studios president Phil Harrison has hinted that the console's successor will not feature a disc drive.

In a recent interview with Wired Magazine, Harrison speculated that the successor to the PlayStation 3 may be entirely based on digital distribution models for both games and media content.

"We have to change the business model. We have to find a new way to reach the consumer," he stated.

Harrison went on to refer to Kart Rider, a Korean game which is offered for free. Consumers are then charged for upgrades enhancements via digital download - and more than 12 million people are currently playing the game.

"That will be the business model for the future of games," Harrison declared, before stating: "I'd be amazed if the PS4 had a physical disc drive."

Clearly, when taken in context, Harrison's comments are merely speculative. However, it could be inferred that the company's vision of the future is focused very much on online distribution, rather than with the "future proof" Blu-ray disc format.

Sony is set to launch the PlayStation 3 in November and has gone to great lengths to assure consumers that Blu-ray - which is in direct competition with the Microsoft-backed HD-DVD format - will be the dominant format for media storage, using the costly format as justification for the PS3's high price tag.

Sony declined to offer further clarification of Harrison's comments.

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