Microsoft reportedly planning release of digital-only Xbox One

Disc-less console would be considerably cheaper, come alongside disc-to-digital program

With Sony skipping E3 in 2019 and Microsoft having effectively full command of an audience waiting to hear about the next console generation, it seems as though the company may not use that spotlight to announce what we're all expecting.

Tech website Thurrot reports that, according to sources familiar with the matter, Microsoft will instead announce a current-generation Xbox One with a twist: the console will be entirely disc-less and only play digital games, allowing the price point to be lowered as much as $100 to a potentially $200 console.

To permit those with physical games to still play their titles on this console, Microsoft will reportly also launch a 'disc-to-digital' program that allows participants to turn in physical game discs for digital downloads at participating retailers.

Furthermore, Thurrot reports that a new Xbox One S with a lower price point but still using a disc drive will also be announced in 2019, leaving the next generation of consoles (whose disc or no-disc state is still up in the air for Microsoft, apparently) for 2020.

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Latest comments (5)

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 3 years ago
A BD-ROM drive is about $10 in the quantities they’re buying. Even a UHD drive is a dollar or two premium, as it’s 98% the same. It’s a pervasive myth that this is expensive. Even with the Blu-Ray royalties, you’re only talking less than $20

This is almost certainly a streaming box, not a “real” console

It likely has the hardware to run UWP streaming apps (Netflix, Amazon, Spotify etc) locally, and specialized hardware to reduce latency. There is no way you can deliver a full fledged Xbox One at $100, even selling at cost. The hard drive, controller and RAM alone start to approach that figure.

But a streaming box hooked up to their new service, even one with some specialized latency reducing hardware, CAN make that price point. Removing the drive saves about 5” in width and depth, and an inch in height. That’s major when you’re entering that market where anything bigger than a pulp paperback gets evil stares.

While in another 3-5 years it may be possible to shrink the OneS to the size of a textbook, today, and even then, the cooling requirements alone take up a lot of space. And I’m certainly skeptical of Apple’s claims that their new IPad Proa can reach that level of real world performance in their form factor and cooling. Anything more than the streaming box just doesn’t jive.

I wouldn’t be suprise day to see said box built into some new TVs, probably from Samsung as well

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeff Kleist on 17th November 2018 5:19am

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Adam Campbell Product Manager, Azoomee3 years ago
I have so many friends that have already gone digital only. It feels like a more viable console now than say 5 to 10 years ago, given how the market has evolved.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 3 years ago
The move to a discless system does not depend on the ability of users to download everything.

The move to discless is a commitment to perish from public spaces. A move to vanish from shelves of retailers who measure the brand in revenue per square foot of shelve space.

Can MIcrosoft afford to have no presence other than a few boxes stacked in a corner? What really happens to the companies who removed themselves from the burden of retail chains? Apple is in this position. Having moved out of retail chains long a go, only to find themselves renting back store space now and filling it with overdesigned demo-stations because having 15 Apple stores in Germany essentially means having no stores really.

Nothing communicates entertainment brand better than a giant shelve filled with more games than you would ever play. Why would MIcrosoft kill the disc and in doing so stop communicating to the world?
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Phil Hindle Senior Videogame Programmer 3 years ago
"Nothing communicates entertainment brand better than a giant shelve filled with more games than you would ever play. Why would MIcrosoft kill the disc and in doing so stop communicating to the world?"

Digital-only seems to work incredibly well for Netflix! They have more content than you could ever fit into a store.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Phil Hindle on 20th November 2018 9:42am

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development3 years ago
They can still sell digital products in stores if they want.
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