We’re nearing the end of the current console generation and Microsoft has already said that it’s hard at work on designing the next generation of Xbox systems. However, the company is reportedly planning a disc-free console to help bridge the gap for more casual players.
According to Windows Central, Microsoft will begin accepting pre-orders for the “Xbox One S All-Digital Edition” in April, with plans to start delivering the console in May. The console appears to be otherwise identical to the current Xbox One S and there aren’t any plans to stop offering that console when the digital-only version arrives.
The loss of a disc drive would not mean the loss of any games for Xbox One fans. Every single game available on disc for the console is also available as a digital download. The reverse is not true, with certain games — even from Microsoft itself — only available digitally.
We first heard about potential plans for a disc-free Xbox One system in November. At the time, Thurrott reported that the system would cost around $200, making it $100 off the price of the current Xbox One S. The same report also said that it would offer a “disc-to-digital” program that would allow those with physical Xbox One games to trade them in for digital licenses.
With the increasing size of game files — and download speeds failing to keep pace — it seems very unlikely that Microsoft would opt to make its next-generation consoles all-digital, as well. Last year’s Red Dead Redemption 2 came in at around 100GB and took up two Blu-ray discs, and downloading a game that size on an internet connection in certain parts of the U.S. could take nearly all day.
Microsoft will be offering its games on a wide variety of platforms when it launches Project xCloud. The game-streaming service will be playable on everything from Xbox systems to phones. It has even been rumored that Xbox Live functionality or Game Pass could come to competing consoles, such as the Nintendo Switch. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer is on board with the idea, as he is interested in getting the service onto every playable device imaginable.