back to article Sony reveals PlayStation 5 will offer heretical no-optical-disk option. And yes, it has an AMD CPU-GPU combo

Sony has revealed the fifth iteration of its PlayStation gaming console – and this time it comes in two variants. One is the "standard" model and will include an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive. The other is disk-free. Removing optical disks entirely would have been a very bold move because it would have limited backwards …

  1. ExampleOne

    Having young children, a major drawback of the online only approach recently became very obvious: how do you get content while blocking online access?

    Retaining the optical drive isn’t just a pragmatic decision for compatibility. This is a games device, it really needs an option for completely offline single player usage.

    1. Test Man

      Hasn't that been solved ages ago? Whether it has an optical drive or not, devices have had functionality that restricts the console to only download and play, let's say PEGI 3 games only.

      Getting rid of the optical drive isn't a massive deal these days, with this generation the disc is merely a delivery mechanism - the games are installed on the HDD regardless.

      Obviously you'll be able to play offline single player, that's already possible with this generation console. This requirement is not affected by the presence of an optical drive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The disc is more than just delivery mechanism. I'm still not sure how I feel about the digital only edition apart from the fact I enjoy the second hand games market, going down to the likes of CeX and choosing a new used game.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If the downloads are encrypted, you *could* put them on any drive and play with no need for a UHD OD.

          If UHD is desired and if the cost difference is only like $100, you might as well get the UHD model as buying a separate UHD player would probably cost at least that or more.

          If you're buying a next gen console for better gaming graphics and expecting "HOLY SHIT!!", be prepared to be let down like never before.

      2. ExampleOne

        The installation to the internal storage isn’t the issue, the issue is not wanting the device to ever connect to the internet.

        It may be an unpopular stance, but a hard air-gap will require less policing than any form of allegedly moderated content filters.

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      May I recommend buying the model with the Blu-Ray drive, then?

    3. galbak


      Get an external blue-ray drive? Plug that into any device that you need a drive for.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Disk free

    Bold move. Also, feels like a bad move. To me that means that all content will be online, players will be trapped in Sony's ecosystem and won't be able to do anything outside of what Sony allows online.

    It also means that, when the inevitable TITSUP happens, all Sony gamers will only be able to twiddle their thumbs in unison. Not to mention the inevitable launch fiasco where will once again see a major company's networked pushed beyond its limits when thousands of gamers will feverishly try connecting for the time, at the same time. Cue the inevitable tweet about how Sony is sorry and it couldn't have imagined all that activity.

    Yup, I almost feel like I can see the future on this one.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Disk free

      Such is the state of things these days that your first install from disc is an unplayable bug-ridden mess and a day-one update is required anyway. However unlike, say, Steam, there is no CD key, so you can actually sell/buy discs second hand and the new owner can put the disc in their drive and get updates too, so there's that.

      Hopefully the lack of CD keys will continue with the PS5, but you can see that the frog boiling continues apace.

      Your Sony TITSUP already happened in 2011, didn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your Sony TITSUP already happened in 2011, didn't it?

        There's absolutely no reason not to believe them to be totally unable not to be caught without their pants on again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          no reason not to believe them to be totally unable not to be caught without their pants on again.


          If there's one thing I'm not, it's not stupid!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disk free

      It would be a bold move if they only had a disk-free version. As it stands, I know which version I'd be buying - the one where I own a physical disk that I can re-sell.

      Not to mention the digital versions will almost certainly be at least the same price as the physical version. I don't think I've ever bought a digital version of a PS4 game, not least because the physical version is often cheaper on Amazon, despite you ending up having to download the full game as an update anyway.

      Recently bought Doom Eternal. It was cheaper to get a box from Amazon which contained a cardboard disc with a product key telling me where to download it from Saved about a fiver. But as it's still basically a digital product, I look forward to having to buy it again in 10 years when Bethesda is consumed by some other platform and I lose access.

    3. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Disk free

      players will be trapped in Sony's ecosystem

      Isn't it part of the definition of a game console?

    4. Wade Burchette

      Re: Disk free

      Pedantic grammar Nazi alert: a disk is different than a disc. Your hard drive is a disk; your DVD is a disc. The type was in the original article. Bad versions will have internal storage disks, solid state drives. But only one has a UHD Blu-Ray disc drive.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Disk free

        Disk is American spelling, disc is UK spelling. Other than that I believe that a hard disk and Blu-ray disk relate to the same word, referring to a circular platter...

    5. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Disk free

      "To me that means that all content will be online, players will be trapped in Sony's ecosystem and won't be able to do anything outside of what Sony allows online."

      But having a disc or not isn't relevant here. There are already plenty of games that install from a disc but still require an online connection to actually play. And there are plenty of downloadable games that are perfectly playable offline once you have them. The online services horse has well and truly bolted at this point, so there's no point worrying that a new console might potentially trigger it in the future.

      As for being trapped in Sony' ecosystem, that's literally the only reason consoles exist at all. If they didn't want to lock you in their walled garden, they'd be just another PC hardware retailer. They're not even pretending any more, consoles are just a PC with a branded lock on the door - you agree to lock yourself in in exchange for bribes of exclusive games.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disk free

      To me that means that all content will be online, players will be trapped in Sony's ecosystem and won't be able to do anything outside of what Sony allows online.

      You mean like Steam, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, iPlayer, Kindle, Sky Now, Apple TV, Google Play?

      Nah you're right, it'll never catch on.

  3. Phil Dalbeck

    Use of third party external storage for game storage is unlikely, given all the hoo-ha they are making about the performance of the extra special Sony ssd storage tech and how it is a requirement that all games utilise it.

    That and the box is an eyesore, looking more like something soljaboi would whack his name against than a big three console.

    Hard pass from me until they release the inevitable revised version in two years...

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Mark Cerny (lead designer at Sony) has already stated that an external drive can be used for legacy PS4 games, and those PS4 games can be run from that drive, or moved to the internal SSD for a speed boost if wanted. Can't be used for PS5 games though, but...

      PS5 also has an NVMe M.2 slot...

      Quote from Mark Cerny : "We will be supporting certain M2 SSDs," Cerny confirmed. "These are internal drives that you can get on the open market and install in a bay on the PS5. They connect through the custom IO unit just like our SSD does, so they can take full advantage of the decompression, IO co-processors, and all the other features I was talking about. Here's the catch though: that commercial drive has to be at least as fast as ours. Games that rely on the speed of our SSD need to work flawlessly with any M2 drive."

      Original article here:

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Had a read and a search

        That internal SSD performance is in the same ball park as XB4 Ram!

  4. sabroni Silver badge

    Disk free

    Nintendo Switch Games at retail are often an empty box with a download code in. So not only a hideous waste of resources but you have to type in some ridiculous string of nonsense to get the game you just paid for!

    But, it's the way the industry is going. If you don't have a physical copy you can't sell it on. It makes financial sense for games companies to cripple the second hand market. It makes financial sense for games companies to avoid manufaturing physical products, they're software developers. Much easier to allow 50,000 downloads than manufacture 50,000 disks.

    On the plus side, having a box with a big browsable list of games built in is very convenient....

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Disk free

      Steam showed the way on PC years ago, and in a very short time basically destroyed the boxed PC game industry, with any publishes not going via Steam, having to provide their own downloads, or create their own platform.

      Big publishers like Ubisoft and EA have been trying to do the same to the console market for years, the PC versions of Origin and Uplay basically being practice for them.

      The only reason I have any disks for my PS4 (first PlayStation I've owned) was that they were usually cheaper to buy than the online store versions (especially the legacy games, like early Uncharted games etc).

      Personally, I don't miss having to use a CD/DVD to install stuff on PC.

    2. John H Woods

      re: Hideous waste of resources ...

      ... not to mention the ensuing unecessary material (largely unrecyclable plastic) waste

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: re: Hideous waste of resources ...

        The problem with Nintendo is your digital downloads last one generation at most as they completely redo online services for every generation. And you need to have both consoles in front of you and wait for the Pikmin to move house.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: Hideous waste of resources ...

          Yeah but the wii to wii u pikmin one was quite fun to watch.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: re: Hideous waste of resources ...

            But it'd be nice just to be able to sign in on any console and not lose anything, like Steam.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Disk free

      On the plus side, having a box with a big browsable list of games built in is very convenient....

      What got me into programming was typing several pages of BASIC code for a game printed in a Dragon 32 magazine - by the time I finished dealing with all the syntax errors on input, I had managed to figure out the meaning of the statements... That is how I "learnt" to program. And I must also give a word of thanks to "Mr Sankar", the Maths teacher who allowed us to use the Commodore PET (which was in locked cabinet), sacrificing his lunch hour to supervise us. His introductory scribble on the blackboard was

      LET X = X + 1

      Which, from a Mathematical perspective "does not compute" - but that was just the opener for us

      Thank you Sir.

  5. MJI Silver badge

    A few must have games, and a few WTFs

    Death Loop looks great. Dishonoured meets Tarantino.

    But I WILL get one for Horizon : Forbidden West.

    Lets say I don't have ShellShock Nam 67. But their main FPS is great for the older gamer.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's with the vertical consoles?

    Neither this nor the new XBox will fit on the shelf under my TV unless they can lie down. I suppose if the consoles are losing their disk drives in the next couple of generations, they can be stood on the floor behind the telly.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: What's with the vertical consoles?

      Just thought Wiii not touched since kids finished Super Mario Galaxy. PS2 not touched in 3 years, PS3 in a year.

      Nearly bought some PS3 DLC then found same price whole game PS4.

      Console tidy up time?

      1. Jay 2

        Re: What's with the vertical consoles?

        Hmm yes, that reminds me there's a PS3 literally gathering dust round here somewhere. Though it's not as bad as it was due to me digging it out earlier this year as I was convinced I could properly platinum GT6 by finishing off the Senna challenges. It didn't take me long to figure out my meagre talents could no way achieve the times needed, so that was the end of that!

      2. jilocasin

        Re: What's with the vertical consoles?

        Never did see anything worth buying a PS4 for. Still playing PS2 & PS3 games here. If the PS5 is backwards compatible, then I might consider buying one.

    2. TheProf Silver badge

      Horizontal Refreshment

      A quick internet search will provide you with your answer.

      TLDR: Yes you can lie it down.

    3. Martipar

      Re: What's with the vertical consoles?

      The PS2 was shown upright as was the PS3 and the PS4 I'm pretty sure this one can lie down to

  7. gv

    Can I play nethack on it?

    See title.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But Sony...

    Given that its the over litigious Sony, and their current abuse of DMCA for the last of us leaks, and past abuses, I am done buying anything from them.

  9. Fading

    PS4 to PS5

    And no complaints it causes Covid-19? Looks like the love-child of the Alienware X51 and the new Aurora R9 not necessarily a bad thing but isn't exactly unassuming.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: PS4 to PS5

      Perhaps we could start a rumour that the new consoles include an embedded 5G transmitter? ;-)

      Icon --> Well it is Friday!

  10. tip pc Silver badge

    useable desktop replacement

    If Sony (or even xbox) offered a feature where these machines could be used as a desktop replacement then their huge costs could be offset against buying a pc for home too.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: useable desktop replacement

      Wasn't that the PS3? And US army bought a load for that exact reason?

      1. Glen 1

        Re: useable desktop replacement

        Yeah, with the "other OS" crap.

        When someone found exploits to escape the VM sandbox (and actually access the hardware you've paid for) they "removed" the feature.

        So your options became: Never connect it to the internet, or lose your OS install.

  11. Duffaboy

    Yes but what everyone wants to know is


    1. NeilPost Silver badge

      Re: Yes but what everyone wants to know is

      They are waiting to see what the X Box Series X launch price will be but both feel like GBP£499/USD$499 ballpark to relieve early adopters of max cash swiftly reducing £449 and then a steady £399 bundles by Black Friday 2021.

  12. Totally not a Cylon

    Leisure suit Larry

    gets woke.

    Sounds a hysterically funny game, provided they have the sense of humo(u)r to actually do it justice.......

    Anyone else remember 'Leather Goddesses of Phobos'?

    Zak McKraken & the Alien Mindbenders?

    Some funny games with an extremely dodgy sense of humour......

  13. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    I was looking forward to colossal cave adventure. Is there a keyboard peripheral for the PS5?

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge

      There's rumoured to be a DIN interface but the keyboard needs to be switched to PC/XT operation.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge
  14. Sawari Ma

    Intellivision Amico

    Or go home

  15. IGotOut Silver badge

    Disk Free

    Nothing new, Xbox did digital only vetsions sometime ago.

    Still wouldn't buy one though.

  16. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I suspect the PS5 and the new Xbox will be the last generation to even give you the option of a built in optical drive. I do feel a sadness that we will loose the second hand games market though, as not everyone can afford to buy games at full price. Maybe we need to go back to the budget labels games of they 80s and 90s where older full priced games are re-released for £4.99 6 months after their initial release.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Losing the second hand market would be bad as far as I'm concerned. I tend to buy mostly new, but have discovered that you can't take other people's ratings for a game for how much you will like them yourself. I've just finished Assassins Creed Origins and accumulated something silly like 100 hours enjoyable play time! Just tried Resident Evil 2 and found it so bad I deleted it after 10 minutes play, so that will be going on eBay. Both games have 5 star ratings on Amazon and with reviews that make them sound like my sort of game.

      It would be annoying to pay full price for a game only available by download and no means to sell it if you don't like it.

      1. BrownishMonstr

        I hate we can no longer download demos. Like seriously, if your game is that good, let people have a taste of it.

    2. NeilPost Silver badge

      But surely you make the device ecosystem the centre of your living room/bedroom so you can (Sony anyway) flog some Blu-Ray discs ??

      A stand-alone Blu-Ray player is from £55 retail (inc tax) @ Argos... so a bare drive is probably about max £10 manufacture costs at scale.

      Digital only editions a solution to a problem no-one asked about. It was only ever a thing with the PS3 launch and the massive cost the new Blu-ray tech added to the launch cost.

  17. William Higinbotham

    Here is the Sony PS-X5

    I was looking for their manual and came across this.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How do people buy gifts?

    I never worked it out: if I want to buy someone a specific game and gift wrap it for a Birthday or Christmas, how do I do that with a digital download.

    Maybe I'm getting old? Don't kids get presents any more?

  19. Plest Silver badge

    Here's a an option, go retro!

    There's a huge second-hand market in retro games. I buy Sony Playstation Portable games from eBay, I have two old PSP systems I use to copy off the games to ISOs and then I play them through an emulator on my Sansung tablet and PC. Alright it's not exactly the right side of "larry law" but the console is long dead and I buy the original software boxed. The games cost me anywhere from £1 for a disc only to £10 max for a boxed games instead of the £60/each for a single title on the latest console. I've started buying N64 and Sega Megadrive systems and games, I couldn't afford them when they came out, now I can and you can get dozens of games for the same price as single game for the latest kit.

    Retro means you get tons of games, hours of great, well tested gameplay all at great prices.

    1. BrownishMonstr

      Re: Here's a an option, go retro!

      How much of an option will that be when the games' online servers are taken offline or repurposed?

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Here's a an option, go retro!

        If the game's got online services then it's not retro enough.

        1. Quantum Leaper

          Re: Here's a an option, go retro!

          How old the game has to be Retro? 10 years, 20 years? More?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022