- Rumours suggest that the newest model of Microsoft’s Xbox One will not have a disc drive and will strictly play digital content.
- Earlier this year Microsoft introduced Xbox Game Pass, an affordable digital video game service that gives subscribers access to an ever-increasing library with more than one hundred 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, based on a new report from Thurrott.com. The site is reporting that Microsoft has created a new SKU for another Xbox One model launching next year, and Microsoft will let Xbox owners trade in their discs for digital copies at Microsoft Stores.
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.
A time frame for the release of disc-less Xbox has not been set, though Thurrott reports that the console was first targeted for Spring 2019. 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 recently 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 reports that Microsoft will offer a trade-in program for Xbox owners to bring their physical games into Microsoft stores and exchange them for digital downloads if they choose to opt for a console without a disc-drive.
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 their 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 next year.
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.
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