The UMD-less PSPgo is not a sign that Sony is leaving physical discs out of their gaming devices.
Digital distribution is certainly on the up and with the PSPgo joining the iPhone as a download-only gaming platform, it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe that all future devices will reject the disc.
However, boxed video games are “not going away any time soon,” according to SCEE boss Andrew House in an interview with GI.biz.
Although House believes that the PSPgo will usher a shift in the industry that it’ll soon have to face, the mini handheld was not meant to replace the other UMD-capable PSP models. And as for the PlayStation 3:
Make no mistake, when you’re looking at PS3 games and you’re seeing the shift in the sheer size of the data that’s becoming available, the packaged media business is not going away any time soon.
I think there’s been an overstatement there potentially, and then a backlash to that – but I don’t think we were really responsible for that overstatement, so we’re not really part and parcel of the backlash, if that makes sense.
It has its place for those consumers – it comes back to offering people options, and it was the right option for us to offer.
So what does this mean for Sony’s future hardware? Will the PSP2 be digital-only? That’s certainly likely, but it’s unlikely that the PlayStation 4 will eschew the disc. You’ll have to make that walk to the store, or at least your letterbox, for quite some time yet.