Microsoft has noted that they’re trying to innovate in the gaming market, particularly with the introduction of an in-the-works cloud gaming service. But it could also be experimenting with a system model that relies more on digital downloads than running on discs -- and we might just see it sooner rather than later.
A new report from Thurrott suggests that Microsoft is already hard at work on a new Xbox model that doesn’t utilize a disc drive. As a result, it’ll rely specifically on digital downloadable games, and will run much less in price than its current Xbox One S model -- to the tune of around $200.
Not only that, but the company is also considering a program in which it’ll be offering a “disc-to-digital” swap out, in which players can bring in their games and get digital codes in return. (It’s unknown if this is just for Microsoft first-party games, or if third-party games like Red Dead Redemption 2 are included.)
The report also notes, “As for Scarlett (the reported next hardware from the company), Microsoft is still trying to decide if that console will include a disc drive but should be making the final decision here shortly.”
Microsoft hasn’t made a note about its plans for hardware in 2019, as it likely was going to stand by its current Xbox One S and Xbox One X consoles, since they’re still selling reasonably well. So take this report with a grain of salt.
It’s not likely the company will switch to this model in the future, since there are still a number of gamers that prefer physical discs to digital downloads -- especially those that don’t have access to strong Internet connectivity. But offering something optional would make sense; and would give the company the opportunity to test out new hardware before moving forward with its plans for the yet-unnamed “next Xbox” console.
And it would certainly help those that aren’t loaded with case, just as its previously announced All Access program has. Not to mention that discs wouldn’t get worn out within the system.
Again, nothing has been confirmed yet, but we’ll see what Microsoft announces over the next few months. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how a disc-free system performs, not to mention what kind of impact it’ll have on the retail market.