Gamers will have the chance to buy all PlayStation 4 games as downloadable titles, though big-budget games will still come on discs.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sony’s head of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida said the company is following the path of the Vita when it comes to PlayStation 4 games. That means all games will be available on the PlayStation Network (or the PlayStation 4 equivalent) as well as on discs.
Like the PlayStation 3, some PS4 games like The Witness will only be available as downloadable titles. That will extend to self-published independent games which Sony will allow on the new console for the first time. Those games can cost as low at $0.99, though Sony said during the PS4 launch event that it will also allow freemium and free-to-play games on the new console.
Big budget games like the upcoming Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son will be available as Blu-ray discs in stores like Best Buy and GameStop. Gamers will also have the ability to download those games directly to the new console, eliminating the need for a disc.
The new PlayStation App that will come to iOS and Android will let gamers buy those digital games from their phones, and they will automatically download to the console. The PlayStation 4 will use a custom low-power chip to download games even when the console is off, so users can buy a game through the app at work, and it will be ready to play when they get home.
The PlayStation 4 will also let users play downloadable games as they download in the background. After the console downloads the first section of the game gamers can start playing while the console downloads the rest of the game. That will eliminate the pain of waiting for games that take up several gigabytes of space to download.
The new console will also automatically download games Sony thinks individual gamers will enjoy, so all they have to do is pay for the game and start playing immediately. Hopefully users with slower connections can turn this feature off.
Presumably this means the Sony PlayStation 4 will need a substantial hard drive to hold multiple downloaded games. Sony will also need to upgrade its network, which is currently notoriously slow when downloading large games.