With internet connections getting faster by the minute (I remember when 56K modems were considered the standard, and cable modem owners with their 512KB were considered extremely lucky…) it was rumored that Sony were considering making the PS4 online only, as in, there’d be no physical drive on the system, and you’d download the games from the marketplace (similar to how you currently do with the PS3 with the Playstation store).
A recent report from the Wallstreet Journal confirms this to be true.
More interestingly, it mentions that Sony are planning to go for a 2013 launch for the Playstation 4 (or whatever it’s name will end up being).
A console without an optical drive would have added huge amounts of pressure to the bricks and mortar businesses on the highstreet (especially since companies such as Game in the UK recently almost went under and were forced to declare bankruptcy).
I’m sure Sony’s decision was looked upon with great relief with many in the industry…