- Rumours suggest that the newest model of Microsoft’s Xbox One will not have a disc drive and will strictly play digital content.
- In early 2018, Microsoft introduced Xbox Game Pass, an affordable digital video game service that gives subscribers access to an ever-increasing digital library with more than 100 games.
- The company has also unveiled plans for a cloud-gaming service, Project xCloud, which would allow users to stream video games to multiple devices.
The next version of the Xbox One may forgo a disc-drive entirely, and could arrive as early as May 2019, based on rumours from Windows Central and Thurrott.
Back in November, a report from Thurrott.com was the first to mention that Microsoft had created a new SKU for another Xbox One model. Now, months later, Windows Central reports that Microsoft is planning to launch the new console – codenamed the Xbox Maverick – in May, with pre-orders starting in mid-April.
Getting rid of the console’s disc drive would allow Microsoft to lower the price of entry into the Xbox family even further. Microsoft currently offers two different models of the console: the more powerful Xbox One X for $US499, and the $US250 Xbox One S. The Xbox One X was released in November 2017, while the Xbox One S launched in August 2016. The original Xbox One model launched in 2013, but has since been discontinued.
Microsoft has been working to make Xbox digital content more appetizing to users with new subscription services and sales models that align more closely with what’s offered on PC. This includes the launch of the Xbox Game Pass program, a digital subscription service that offers a library of more than 100 games on both Windows and Xbox for $US15 a month.
Thurrott also reported that Microsoft may offer a trade-in program for Xbox owners to bring their physical Xbox games into Microsoft stores and exchange them for digital downloads if they choose to opt for the new console without a disc-drive.
Xbox fans will still need to wait for an announcement from Microsoft for the new Xbox One to be officially confirmed.
While Microsoft is still revising the Xbox One hardware, the company’s next-generation console is already in the works, going by the codename “Scarlett.” However, the new Xbox consoles aren’t expected until 2020. Xbox executive Phil Spencer has suggested that the Scarlett line of consoles will make use of cloud-gaming technology, allowing users to stream video games directly from Microsoft’s servers. Streaming games would require a strong internet connection, but would greatly reduce the amount of power and storage space needed to deliver a premium gaming experience.
Game streaming won’t be exclusive to new consoles either; the company has promised that its recently announced cloud-gaming service, Project xCloud, would be capable of streaming Xbox games to smartphones and computers across the world. Project xCloud is expected to enter beta testing in 2019.
If Microsoft is indeed willing to create an Xbox without a disc-drive, it could spell the end of an era for video games as publishers continue to promote more digital content. However, there’s still a healthy market for physical game sales, and stores like GameStop rely heavily on the purchase and sale of used games to support their business model.