While many are of the opinion that we are still a ways away from a digital-only gaming future, it looks like both Sony and Microsoft have been considering the transition a bit earlier than expected. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal,
it appears as though Sony was initially planning on making the PlayStation 4 a download-only machine. However, after some careful consideration, and realizing that a huge chunk of the globe still doesn't have high speed internet, the company decided to stick with what works, an "optical disk drive." Wise choice fellas.
The source also reported that Microsoft followed a similar train of thought when considering which direction to take with the next Xbox. The fact that games are becoming quite large, coupled with the fact that so many consumers still don't have a reliable internet connection made their decision clear.
Give it another console cycle guys.