Why Sony Is Releasing A Disc-Free PS5

Sony, like Microsoft before it, is releasing a digital-only PlayStation console--and now we know why.

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Sony is releasing two PlayStation 5 consoles this year. One has a disc drive and the other doesn't. In a new interview with GameSpot sister site CNET, PlayStation boss Jim Ryan explained why Sony is releasing the disc-free console.

He explained that it's a reflection of what many consumers want these days. Basically, people are consuming more and more digital content as opposed to physical media, and Sony is releasing a new PlayStation console for those who align more with this vision for the future. "We're just acknowledging here that as time passes our community is becoming more digitally orientated," Ryan said.

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The executive pointed out that, in the first quarter of 2020, a whopping 66 percent of PlayStation games sold were digital. This uptick in digital game sales was no doubt driven by the fact that people are staying home during the COVID-19 crisis, but in any case, the percentage of digital game sales at Sony--and other game companies--is growing.

"People increasingly, as they are with their music and their video, they prefer digital and we want to recognize that," Ryan said.

The PS5 is not Sony's first game platform without a physical media drive. The company released the PSP Go back in 2004, but the PS5 is Sony's first home console without a physical media drive.

Looking across the industry, Microsoft released the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition in 2019, and the company is rumored to release a next-generation Xbox without a disc drive, too.

Going back to PlayStation's strategy, Ryan said the regular PS5 with a disc drive and the disc-free model are "identical products" outside of the small difference in form factor. Both systems will be available at launch when the PlayStation 5 ships in Holiday 2020. Pricing has not been announced for either system.

For more on everything Sony announced today about the PS5, check out GameSpot's roundup of all the game reveals and more.

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