Microsoft May Launch Xbox One Without a Disc Drive

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Console gaming is more complicated than it used to be. Time was, you’d slam a new disc or cartridge in your machine, and you’d be playing in moments. Today, most games you purchase on disc have big patches to download and online features to set up, so why not do away with the discs entirely? Microsoft is reportedly planning to do just that. The future disc-less Xbox One could be the most affordable yet, but there are naturally some drawbacks.

According to a new report, the disc-less Xbox is due next year, and it’s separate from the next-gen console. The new console is expected in 2020, and there’s no word on whether that one will have a disc drive. Since the updated console won’t have a drive for discs, you’ll only be able to purchase digital downloads to play on it.

Losing the disc drive is not necessarily a problem for someone just getting into the XboxSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce ecosystem — virtually everything is available as a digital download. However, anyone who already has some games would need to take advantage of Microsoft’s rumored “disc to digital” service. Gamers could take their existing discs into a Microsoft store or some other authorized retailer to make the trade. You’d hand over your physical disc and get a download code in return.

This would be a significant shift for Microsoft’s Xbox division, and many will complain about the added time it takes to download everything. So, why bother with this? Microsoft will supposedly be able to drop the cost of the console considerably by ditching the Blu-ray drive. Currently, the base model Xbox One costs around $ 299 when it’s not on sale. Microsoft believes it can trim $ 100 off the price, getting in just under $ 200. That’s a very attractive price for a full-featured game console. It’s just the sort of thing that keeps a console going in its twilight years.

The success or failure of this idea may influence the final design of the future Xbox console, currently codenamed Scarlett. Microsoft is still trying to decide if that console will have a Blu-ray drive at all. If the launch of the disc-less Xbox One goes well, Scarlett may launch without a drive as well. We might see the updated Xbox One as soon as spring of 2019. A second cheaper Xbox may launch later next year, but this one would still have a disc drive. 

Now read: Microsoft Acquires Game Devs Obsidian and InXile to Bolster XboxMicrosoft Expands Gaming Empire, Bringing Xbox Game Pass to PC Players, and Microsoft Announces ‘Xbox All Access’ Plans to Finance a Console Over Two Years

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