Microsoft is reportedly working on an Xbox One console without a disc drive according to unnamed sources speaking to Thurrott. Slated for release sometime during 2019, the new unit would become the baseline Xbox One S with a cheaper price tag.
In other words, this isn’t going to be the next big Microsoft console – which we already know is codenamed, Project Scarlett – rather, it’ll be another model of the Xbox One family without the ability to read physical discs. Why would the company do this, you ask? Well, it’ll make it cheaper to manufacture and to purchase, but also serves as a litmus test for a digital-only console without the risk associated with a next-gen hardware release.
“Microsoft is moving forward very carefully with this product as it knows that a sizeable portion of its users do prefer to buy physical games and not download them,” Thurrott says.
“The goal with the new console is to lower the price point for the hardware. Currently, it costs about $299 to buy into the Xbox One family of devices, Microsoft is looking to lower that price by possibly as much as $100; the new console price point is expected to be $200 or less.”
Of course, those are US prices, so we’d be looking somewhere around the $270 mark or less, which is certainly cheaper than what the One S is retailing for now, which is around $350.
For those who still have a decent collection of physical games or receive a physical copy of something as a gift, Microsoft will reportedly be running a ‘disc-to-digital’ program which will transfer your discs into digital copies of the software, as the name suggests.
Microsoft is yet to comment on the rumours, but it seems like something it would offer, given the company’s recently announced cloud gaming venture, Project xCloud. Either way, it seems like the right step forward given the prevalence of digital over physical purchases.
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