The PS3’s inclusion of Blu-ray was a controversial one – it added significantly to the console’s already insane price, delayed it in Europe and came at a time when many thought that HD-DVDs would win. But at least all the games would all be 50 gigabytes of awesomeness, right?
Sadly, as we all know, multiplatform developers and publishers work on the principle of lowest common denominator – they develop games as best as they can on the worst combination of 360 and PS3 specs. That means that almost all games are DVD size on PS3 because the 360 can only play DVDs. Publishers have little incentive to optimize a game for one platform, and, if they did, the worse off platform holder could get angry and even block the game’s release until everything is made equal again (sad, but true). Publishers generally also don’t see it as cost effective to release multiple-disc games, so only a few multiple discs were made.
Thankfully, exclusives (proper ones, not timed ones) are able to make use of the full disc space. Unfortunately, the number of AAA exclusives is limited and multiplatform games dominate the industry and the charts. But even if you only bought exclusives, the PS3’s Blu-ray player was painfully flawed – as it came out when Blu-ray was new, and the read speeds were incredibly slow. At 2x, game loading can be painfully slow, developers are still struggling to make sure everything doesn’t slow down to a crawl, and we often have to install huge amounts of data (and the install takes forever).
The PlayStation 4 will be the first PlayStation console to not use a new disc format, but that doesn’t matter. It’ll be the first PlayStation console to properly use Blu-ray.
Every single rumor points towards the next Xbox using Blu-ray, from the new rumors, to the leaked Microsoft document, to sources that were correct about PS4 details. That means that, finally, the lowest common denominator will be 50GB discs, and multiplatform games titles will actually use the full potential. Multiplatform engines will be able to be much larger, assets will be bigger, cutscenes will be better, audio will be higher quality. The general visual and auditory quality bar will be raised, meaning that even mainstream games like Call of Duty will have to improve, ensuring a better looking industry for all.
Not only that, but the PS4’s Blu-ray player isn’t crippled by age. Its 6x read speeds easily outperform the PS3’s, meaning that Sony’s PlayStation Meeting promise of no waiting between putting the game in and starting to play it. Don’t expect to grow obese from making so many sandwiches while you wait for your game to be ready, don’t expect to have to buy a huge harddrive even if you’re not a fan of digital content.
Next generation, Blu-ray will finally be used to its full potential, great news for upcoming PlayStation 4 owners and Xbox 720 owners alike.