The PlayStation 4 will hit store shelves next year, sources have told the Wall Street Journal. The unnamed tipsters said Sony is aiming to hit this date, but did not elaborate further. A Sony representative declined to comment for GameSpot.
On top of outing a release window for the PS4, the paper's sources explained Sony considered making it download-only, but ultimately decided against it. According to the report, Sony's flirtation with such a system came to a halt mainly because of concerns regarding the prevalence and reliability of Internet connections around the world.
A user in a region with a relatively slow Internet connection would face lengthy download times, and this turned Sony off to the idea, the source said. A Sony representative told GameSpot, "This is rumor and we do not comment on rumor."
If Sony had moved forward with a digital-only home console, it would have followed the company's PSP Go in ditching boxed games. That system shipped in 2009 and during one week in February 2011 was outsold by its PSP predecessor 1,000-to-1 in Japan.
The site also reports that Microsoft's next Xbox will boast an optical disc drive, as was suggested earlier this year when rumor had the new console sporting a Blu-ray drive. The source told the paper that Microsoft also harbored concerns regarding access to reliable Internet connections when devising plans for its upcoming console.
For more on speculation concerning the PS4 and next Xbox, check out GameSpot's rumor roundup feature.