Source claims Xbox 720 will ship without optical drive

By on March 9, 2012, 1:00 PM

Microsoft is reportedly telling partners that the next Xbox, tentatively dubbed the Xbox 720, will not include an optical disc drive. The briefings are said to be released under what one source claims is the strictest NDA they have ever encountered, according to an exclusive article from MCV.

In place of the optical drive would be a type of interchangeable solid state drive or card, presumably for users that don't have an internet connection. The source also tells MCV that a 2013 launch date has been confirmed and a reveal at E3 2012 in June could very well be a possibility.

A move to a digital-only platform is intriguing and a sign of the times but not everyone will be vying for it. Video game retailers like GameStop earn a great deal of profit from the second-hand market. A digital-only console would completely eradicate that segment of business and further hamper the retail sector.

Furthermore, speedy broadband would almost be a requisite for title downloads. Those in rural areas without high-speed internet access need not apply… unless the rumored solid state card system circumvents this issue.

Additionally, the next generation console would need to include a hard drive with massive amounts of storage to hold purchased games. Even then, there’d still be a limit to the number of titles one console could store, unless perhaps cloud storage was factored into the equation. Finally, any hope of the 720 being backwards-compatible with existing 360 titles would be tossed out the window.




User Comments: 47

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wow...that's quite a deviation from past models. Absolutely no surprise though as they try and get rid of the 2nd sale market once and for all.

Guest said:

"The briefings are said to be released under what one source claims is the strictest NDA they have ever encountered, according to an exclusive article from MCV."

Doesn't seem that bad if someone is spilling the beans already.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The funny thing about rumors is, well there rumors. If Microsoft actually made a console like this I would be surprised, the digital download will more than likely be a reality, it already exists. The move from disc based storage to card based storage is also viable, but to not include an optical drive is just crazy. That means you can't watch traditional DVDs or Blu-rays (Don't see why they wouldn't put a BR-Rom minimum) and eliminates all possibilities of backwards compatibility.

Guest said:

I think Microsoft must resurrect the HDDVD. Maybe was fail for the whole industry but it fits perfect for the next generation of Xbox.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

Not happening as MS isn't going to be willing to alienate so many people that want backwards compatibility and watch discs on their "multimedia" platform...

I don't know about some people, but I am more willing to buy a game going to a brick and mortar store than online...

Guest said:

There is no way Microsoft won't include an optical drive. They have position the Xbox as an entertainment center, not just a gaming device.

Guest said:

This rumor is funny.

Guest said:

im all for this, sounds like it'll be just like the "good ole days" of gaming all over again. now i just need to go dig up my old cartridge cleaning kit, since this thing'll need it. thank you microsoft for resurecting the ancient procedure of blowing your game console to get it to work.

ikesmasher said:

But dvds are cheaper, and this will jack up prices.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

" tentatively dubbed the 720.. or Turbo Grafix 16.."

Tygerstrike said:

Whats worse then a sold state drive is the fact that high speed will be needed to download. Sure theres high speed internet in major metro areas. But I live in the sticks so high speed is a myth. And I like to occasionally pop in one of my on XBOX games for a quick trip down memory lane.

The fact that they are trying to get rid of businesses like GameStop just goes to show exactly how greedy they are. Gaming has always been a business that allowed you to borrow your freinds copy of a game to play it.

Whats going to suck even more is the rental business. How does Microsoft expect to get those games out there if its not in an easily transferable media. Like CD. It will mean the end of a few businesses. I certainly hope Microsoft plans on a tough fight ahead. Sure the big box stores will carry the console but most ppl buy their gear and games from places like GameStop. Im sure GS will prolly not carry the new system if MS tries to play hardball.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Na, they won't go through with this, If Microsoft did I think they will lose the next gen console war before it even began, especially since we already know the Wii U does have an optical drive and I bet the next Sony console will have a BD drive, Seems as if this Rumor is complete lies to me.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

I can see this happening in all seriousness, regardless of how suspect the info actually is. DD, and proprietary 'cards' will almost eliminate any possibility of pirating..

Of course it will also allow MS and the game makers to make your DD obsolete and require you to re-lic. it when ever they feel like, have all your personal and banking info out in whatever cloud system MS is touting for this, charge horrendous amounts of cash to buy the afore mentioned 'cards' with movies/games/music on them and generally control every move you make on the new system.

But as long ass MS is making gobs of money it's all good right? I mean look at SGi.. they did proprietary like no one else in the industry and they are making hundreds of million profit each quarter... oh wait, they are actually out of business because of said proprietary HW/SW business modelling.

SONY and Nintendo must have every employee at a Buddhist alter praying for this to be true.

Raswan Raswan said:

TomSEA said:

Wow...that's quite a deviation from past models. Absolutely no surprise though as they try and get rid of the 2nd sale market once and for all.

Yeah, no surprise there, but do you see this actually happening? I see so much backlash, and refusal to buy the 720 if it ships like this, that they'll quickly revise their stance. Even aside from the douchebaggery of trying to eradicate used game sales, they are completely throwing under the bus everyone who has built up a substantial 360 library (I'm not one of them, so I don't really care). My opinion: it'll never happen.

Illuminati said:

Why is everyone here so doubtful? A bunch of non-strategic thinkers perhaps? I bet these next-gen leaks are right on the money.

1. It doesn't need optical - you obviously already have such devices, and lets face it, Bluray is going to be restricted in size very quickly, compared to flash.

2. New tech will be able to crank out games on stamped flash just as quick as stamping out optical disks soon

3. External media will only be for those that do not download their content. And likely once you insert the physical media, it will install by means of a file transfer or run off the card and perhaps uniquely tag your physical media to your xbox. If tagged uniquely, used games will obviously go away (unless pirated), but you'd still be able to play on another box after signing in to enter credentials and verify owner rights via XBL.

4. What's the big gripe about "used games". Is there a huge used PC game market? no. That's a console thing because they require physical media and are not "installed". Game prices hopefully will be cheaper and drop faster because there is less overhead with manufacturing and shipping and they can be adopted by consumers more quickly via download and install. It's the paradigm of mobile apps/games - there's nothing wrong with it. Also it will likely be grown into offering game rentals over XBL, just like movie rentals. These "rentals" would address a lot of the used game fuss because less people would be selling back games.

Makes sense now!?!? It all seems so logical and definitely the way forward... can't believe so many naysayers and non-believers are commenting... geesh....

Guest said:

No game discs for Xbox? Screw that. I'm switching to PC.

Illuminati said:

I think *most* people are starting to appreciate the convenience of online purchasing. People are burning their movie/game collections to HTPCs so they DON't have to mess with physical media as often... let's just skip that physical media step altogether... it is supposed to be "next-gen" afterall.

Illuminati said:

Tygerstrike said:

Whats worse then a sold state drive is the fact that high speed will be needed to download. Sure theres high speed internet in major metro areas. But I live in the sticks so high speed is a myth. And I like to occasionally pop in one of my on XBOX games for a quick trip down memory lane.

The fact that they are trying to get rid of businesses like GameStop just goes to show exactly how greedy they are. Gaming has always been a business that allowed you to borrow your freinds copy of a game to play it.

Whats going to suck even more is the rental business. How does Microsoft expect to get those games out there if its not in an easily transferable media. Like CD. It will mean the end of a few businesses. I certainly hope Microsoft plans on a tough fight ahead. Sure the big box stores will carry the console but most ppl buy their gear and games from places like GameStop. Im sure GS will prolly not carry the new system if MS tries to play hardball.

I see Gamestop getting sucked up by Bestbuy or someone as a line of business specializing in custom and used peripherals and an online game buying service like steam, origin, etc. Guessing with win8, we'll be able to play PC games streamed via our next-gen xboxs to our bigscreens, and there will also be console optimized titles. This would be stupid on MS part not to implement. If they miss the opportunity, the rumored steam box may thrive, if they nail it, the rumored steam box is DOA.

RubinOnRye RubinOnRye said:

Good idea / Bad idea nothing more needs to be said.

Guest said:

If there is no optical drive this console will flop in places like Australia , where the "average " family has a download limmit of around 50 gig a month . IMO no optical drive is the worst idea ever, not every country can be America with unlimited downloads

Guest said:

Well if this NextBox is as fragile as the 360 was with all the RROD going around you know this will be a gigantic failure.

Guest said:

this is gonna be a mess...know the PC seems the best console, with this stuff and the stupidity of sony and more restrictions on the systems...the supposed next generations is for retarded ppl...sony and mocosoft are losing all the things that a gaming console should be and alot of dumb azz fanatic will buy their stuff...very sad

Predictions:

1.-Before this mocosoft should have the best next gen console, now who knows?

2.-for sure sony wont change their business model and we wont have backward compatibility for the ps3 (transition console) and ps2 or ps1

3.-the PC will be your new console

4.-Nintendo will dissapear

its the apocalyps of the consoles

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Someone needs to tell Microsoft that when a hit game hits shelves, it needs to be available for purchase online. I started buying and downloading games onto my 360S : Reach LE console and its great but you have to wait weeks, sometimes months for games to be available online and its a complete pain in the ass.

If anything, they should be available online first.

Guest said:

The new "next gen" xbox has an awful graphics card thats last gen (the 6670, look it up it costs $60) and they'll probably sell it for $600. This console is a cash grab, thats going to rip off the CAWODOOTY audience with more bullshit.

There's a reason pc games don't need used media; its because pc games are cheaper. Steam is an excellent distributor that provides a service Microsoft can't, they are just way to greedy.

If Microsoft and Sony don't get their **** straight, and start actually improving their hardware and treating customers with respect, they will become obsolete in the gaming market. PC gaming is the only way, and is on the rise. Consoles are becoming more and more pointless, especially since ipads are catching up with the shitty hardware, and with superior resolution.

Buy a pc and stay away from this greedy bullshit.

Guest said:

First came rumors of mandatory Kinect crap integration into every new Xbox.

Second came rumors of crappy HD6670 style-GPU or at most some low end HD7000 series.

Now, no BluRay drive and mostly digital distribution for games, perhaps flash cards?

It's like MS is telling me to play all cross-platform games on the PC and get PS4 for media device + Sony exclusives.

Thank you MS, you are making my next generation console purchasing decision easier than ever. :)

Guest said:

Some of you people think online gaming distribution is the future and you are correct, in 10-15 years. Here in Canada, I pay $50 and only have 60GB bandwidth limit per month. That's what 2 games to download a month, at most? But I also use the bandwidth to stream content, do distributed computing on my PC, etc.

Also, some of you forget that next generation games are going to have higher resolution textures and much better graphics. Already now some games are pushing 25GB or more. You think 32GB flash cards won't limit next generation games for the next 5-8 years of the console's life?

Right now a 32GB flash card is at least $20-25 vs. what like $1 for a 50GB Blu-Ray disc?

Games would need to cost $69-79 to even make this viable.

Also, if MS wants to be the media entertainment device, without a Blu-Ray drive, they are toast. You can't get high definition sound through Netflix, and such. Blu-Rays have no substitute right now for people who want the best experience at home.

The only way this is viable is if MS has 2 system - a system without optical drive for budget casual gamers with Kinect and a hardcore system for gamers with BluRay drive and all that jazz.

Otherwise, MS just wrote its death sentence in the next generation console wars.

Guest said:

Looks like i might return playstation.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Wow even worse without a blu ray drive lol. It will be well out of date when it releases anyway so whats the use. PC gaming ftw.

ramonsterns said:

Typical Microsoft.

Red ring of death? Remove Red LED.

Scratching dics? Remove disc tray.

I, for one, have no interest in buying the FauxBox 6670.

Gamesinner said:

Here is Sony's chance to retake the number one spot during the next generation. I really like owning hard copies of games and I'm big into selling and buying used games. Give a game six months and you can buy it for less then half the price on the internet. I think I'm going to pass this next one up and wait to see what Sony's answer is.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

gamesinner said:

Here is Sony's chance to retake the number one spot during the next generation. I really like owning hard copies of games and I'm big into selling and buying used games. Give a game six months and you can buy it for less then half the price on the internet. I think I'm going to pass this next one up and wait to see what Sony's answer is.

Agreed, if sony can make there next console backwards compatible (Which I would assume wouldn't be too difficult) and with an optical drive plus more powerful, they could be onto a winner, as long as they get some decent exclusives though...

gingerbill said:

I can't see it myself , you need a big HDD when downloading your games , so i cant see how they could possibly not have a large HDD , SSD are too expensive to have a large one in the console. I took it for granted they would have to put a big HDD in with everything switching to digital downloads.

Guest said:

Only a fool would assume this rumor is true. So for all you "I'm heading to PS right now" I feel sorry for you believing rumors...

Guest said:

I have a friend who works for BASF in Germany. He claims that microsoft have been in secret talks with BASF for nearly a year. Now BASF used to make the magnetic tape that you would find in old tape recorders. He believes that the XBOX 760 will use some kind of tape to hold game/game info. rather like the ZX Spectrum computer from decades ago. Silent, superfast load times, and of course, no more wearing out or breakages. After all, who ever heard of magnetic tape (think C60, C90 etc (ask your Grandad)) getting chewed up. He also has an update on the XBOX 760 controller! And yes folks, just like the rumours you laughed at when you first heard them, IT'S TRUE!! there is no controller supplied! It is believed that you will control all on screen moveable objects via pure thought control. Or, any kind fresh (non cooked) radish. If you do not think that is true, guess who is buying up the radish farmers whole... I am sorry if you are still reading this. I think I am having a breakdown. Apologies for wasting your time. But, the radish thing is true. True I tells ya. True. So look out for BASF magnetic tape radishes coming to a store near you. Or, not to far away

Guest said:

mmmmmmm spectrum.

Guest said:

The X-Box 720 would make a good paperweight or a footstool while I game on a PC.

treetops treetops said:

Cant wait for redboxs to have giant hds for loading games into a consoles mobile ssd.

what no vcr??!

Tygerstrike said:

Microshaft can and will release whatever they want. Its the general buying public that will decide the fate of this console. If the ppl like it they will crank them out. If the ppl dont, its not like MS is going to be hurting any from a failed launch. I will say to all of the PC gamers out there that some of us dont want to game on a PC. Some of us like to sit there and veg out will playing some Halo or COD. The reason consoles still do as well as they do is that they hit the section of market that caters to NON PC gamers. Its a very very large group. When nintendo released the Wii, we got to see how much Grandma and Grampa like to play games. Im sure your individual playing method may be PC, but others neither care nor want to share in your PC gaming experience. Some cant afford a decent gaming rig while others just arent PC savy. So that being said, any rumor about new consoles and specs gets us interested. Im personally hopeing that MS learns to put out a better product or else Sony will snatch up MS market share.

Sony lead the way for quite a few years in console gaming. I personally hope they take up that role again. Maybe we will see another Dreamcast type system instead of the same ole rehashed crap MS likes to release lol.

Guest said:

why cant consoles be scrapped and use pcs instead which are much more future proof and are upgradable, just make every game for pc and have the games coded to have native support for ps3 or xbox controllers for those who cant use a mouse, win win.

ramonsterns said:

Guest said:

why cant consoles be scrapped and use pcs instead which are much more future proof and are upgradable, just make every game for pc and have the games coded to have native support for ps3 or xbox controllers for those who cant use a mouse, win win.

Ever heard of "a fool and his money"?

There's a lot of fools out there.

Jibberish18 said:

Most of you should just calm down. Do you really think that IF MS did something like this they wouldn't give the rest of the LARGE population that DOESN'T have fast internet connections a way to buy games? And personally I wouldn't mind games being downloaded or bought/flashed onto a flash card. Another thing, why the hell are Discs still so big? Gamecube had the right idea with the smaller discs.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Jibberish18 said:

Most of you should just calm down. Do you really think that IF MS did something like this they wouldn't give the rest of the LARGE population that DOESN'T have fast internet connections a way to buy games? And personally I wouldn't mind games being downloaded or bought/flashed onto a flash card. Another thing, why the hell are Discs still so big? Gamecube had the right idea with the smaller discs.

Remember the UMD? No, well it flopped due to lack of capacity, same reason the gamecube discs stopped with the gamecube. Its not feasible to compress that much data on to such a small medium, besides as long as DVDs exist and Blurays are only getting more popular the size will remain the same. Besides, if we really want to compare disc size look at the old 12" laserdisc and then say our little 4" disc are too big. Quad layer Blurays at 100GB should be alright for next gen games, it all depends on what the hardware can run, graphics wise.

Guest said:

Game companies want to eliminate the used game market - one way to do that is by forcing Microsoft to not include an optical drive in their console.

Guest said:

Oh sure like that will work.

I can already see people spending $60 dollars and realising their "storage device" has no data on it or it does not function.

Discs are "low tech" but quite reliable. Kiddies and noob customers can obviously destroy or make discs unreadable but the risk is far lower. Tradional customers won't shell out $60 for a title provided on some "flash drive thingy".

Digital can be great but slow Internet in emerging markets is a big problem. M$ will probably keep on selling the "older" 360 at some exorbitant price in the "rest of world market" 'till the chickens come home that is.

I'll take that PS3 / PC thank you very much.

Guest said:

As a PC gamer and a XBOX gamer i must say that people are hitting the xbox with so much bad ****, i like the idea of the no optical drive i never use mine anyway (unless im playing a game i havent bought on-demand) but that said i dont agree with it, it will make some of the old games not playable and of course for those people who use it as a dvd player. Also i think some people fail to see how a console gaming can be better then PC, hand ups if you actually own a GAMING LAPTOP like alienware or asus high end, cause i dont, i have a entry leven 14inch laptop for tafe/school. now my point is if you were to buy.build a decent gaming computer your looking at $1000 (in my area market) or you can spend 400-500 on a console and 300 for a laptop total $800 spent, some people dont have space for a desktop, or travel alot, or cant afford to have a laptop and desktop, its simple to plug a console to the tv and play it and own a laptop for school/tafe/uni etc. also it looks like microsoft MAY be allowing cross platform gaming now on there pc n xbox (check windows 8) So dont bag the **** out one thing without thinking it through, I LOVE my PC Gaming, but i also ENJOY my xbox,

Guest said:

No way for a multimedia console ...

by the way playing backups fully from a hdd -> Nice, killing 2nd hand trade + supporting piracy?

Like the way Microsoft thinking ;)

Guest said:

Everyones complaining... think about all the space your going to create on your shelves for things like chinese ornaments.

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