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Microsoft is building a disc-free Xbox to launch next year

By Shawn Knight · 29 replies
Nov 16, 2018
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  1. Microsoft is planning to launch an updated Xbox next year but it won’t be a next-gen device. Instead, it’ll be a traditional Xbox that lowers the cost of entry without sacrificing the core gaming experience. How so, you ask? By ditching the optical drive.

    Sources familiar with the matter tell Thurrott that the disc-less console could arrive as soon as next spring. The current Xbox One retails for around $299 but without a disc drive, Microsoft could lower the price by as much as $100.

    Those with sizable physical game collections won’t be left out in the cold. According to the publication, Microsoft envisions a “disc-to-digital” program where you trade in your physical games for digital download codes at participating retailers.

    Personally, I’d rather hang on to my physical games. Digital codes have zero resell value. Plus, some people simply like having a physical collection of games on hand. Then again, look at the PC. It has gone almost exclusively digital for games. What are your thoughts?

    Thurrott said Microsoft is also planning a revised Xbox One S for later in the year that’ll focus solely on cost reduction without shedding the optical drive. As for the next-gen platform, Microsoft reportedly hasn’t decided on if it should have a disc drive or not.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 375   +153

    A good idea as an addition to the lineup. They could also leave out the controller to drop the price further. People might already have one, or they fancy the idea of getting a custom one. That would reduce the price further and make it really affordable. There has to be a big difference in price between it and the one with a disc drive.
  3. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,547   +1,767

    Much like digital games often cost more then their physical counterparts, as they do not benefit from falling prices despite not having stock or limited supply like physical copies, any money saved on this system wont be going to the consumer, but the company itself.
    Reehahs, Digitalzone and BSim500 like this.
  4. Xallisto

    Xallisto TS Booster Posts: 40   +52

    I hate digital distribution.

    No money spent on fabricating plastic cases.
    No money spent on fabricating discs.
    No money spent on paper for covers.
    No money spent on ink to print covers.
    No money spent on shipping countless millions of games all over the world.

    And yet do u think the end user see's even a penny saving? No, of course they don't for some reason a digital download costs more, well on console at least. At least steam can be cheap if u only buy in sale time.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
    Reehahs, Digitalzone and Dimitrios like this.
  5. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 375   +153

    Sometimes true but physical games can often cost far more than their digital counterparts. Besides you have the gamepass with access to over 100 games for 10$. Once a sale happens, which does quite frequently, you'll be able to get digital copies cheap.

    New releases cost the same wether digital or physical.

    A big drawback that comes to my mind is you can't use your xbox 360 games with it.
    Damn thats actually a pretty big deal breaker.
  6. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 528   +255

    I have had my ps4 since launch. I sold my launch model with all my hard copies of games and purchased digitals of the games I wanted to keep when ps4 pro came out. I will never go back to disc. Its far to convenient to not have to swap discs. I dont play through my games fast enough for them to have trade in “value” so I dont mind the lack of resale.

    For all of you complaining about digital prices... try waiting a few weeks on new releases, bite the bullet on your faves and FPS games but the rest can be had deeply discounted. I got Horizon Zero Dawn for $19 last blavk friday, PSN has fantastic digital sales all the time, frequent flash sales and holiday discounts can be large savings.
    Morris Minor and ForgottenLegion like this.
  7. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Maniac Posts: 180   +166

    The big deal is that Physical allows for an USED marketplace, the good old second hand that publishers and Console makers despise from long ago.
  8. GreenNova343

    GreenNova343 TS Maniac Posts: 361   +244

    Well, unfortunately, it does make a lot of sense. Although you can still buy game discs, so many titles (especially the AAA titles) on both PC & console require you to install 90% or more of the game files onto the internal hard drive anyway, so there's little difference between digital & disc versions there. And especially with PC versions, the move towards requiring an always-on connection to the developer's server -- or worse, requiring the installation of the app to "verify" that the game is authentic -- makes it pretty difficult for games to have any value in the secondary market ("Sorry, we show that disc was already registered by James Smith, & he never called us to cancel his license, so you can't register that disc you bought at Half Price Books...but we'll let you buy it for full price now...").

    Unfortunately, there are still too many people (even -- or especially -- here in the US) that have download caps placed on their home Internet service. Forcing gamers to go 100% digital download will restrict people's abilities to buy games in those areas. Aside from the inconvenience for gamers, though, that actually is something that affects a developer's bottom-line: the fewer people that buy your game, the fewer people you can get to buy loot boxes (or any of the other pay-to-win tactics), & the less money you'll make from this game to allow you to develop the near-clone "sequels" for the next few years, let alone develop original content.
  9. Nero7

    Nero7 TS Evangelist Posts: 375   +153

    Duh if that is such a big deal for you then don't get that version of the xbox.
  10. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 408   +413

    Gamesharing and seasonal sales has meant that the vast majority of my games are digital.

    I also don't play them quick enough to resell while they're worth selling on.

    Plus digital is so much more convenient. Don't have to swap/carry discs.
    With mandatory game installs the positives of digital outweigh the negatives.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  11. MasterMace

    MasterMace TS Booster Posts: 83   +42

    Long past time to switch to USB based games.
  12. Sabby

    Sabby TS Rookie

    How do they figure a $100 decrease in the console price attributed to the lack of a disc drive? Not making sense to me.
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  13. Techdude99

    Techdude99 TS Rookie

    As a PC gamer and occasional console gamer I really like Steam for the PC. You can buy games at very reasonable prices and it's easy to transfer ownership. If this were an option for consoles, I'd be on board ditching physical media as long as there was a way to utilize a form of media (USB stick, etc...) for low bandwidth situations. Unfortunately, this move by Microsoft is probably exactly what most software makers prefer, licensing games to consumers with no ownership. Unless there's a way to transfer licenses, this potential console trend would not be good for consumers.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  14. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Maniac Posts: 180   +166

    Did I mention anything about getting ANY version of this? If any I would be getting ANY version of the PS4.
  15. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,652   +318

    Games on PC don't have transferable licenses either. On the other hand, games on PC have quite a bit of competition between digital stores (largely thanks to Steam allowing it), and quite a bit of freedom for devs to sell games digitally any way they want. Xbox is a walled garden with a curated single store. So I'm not all that hopeful that this will turn out well.

    Still, in a lot of ways it makes sense. Microsoft and the devs get more money, and for most consumers digital is easier. As GreenNova343 said, it's practically already the case that everything is digital, the disc is mostly used as a license.
  16. Jeff Schmidt

    Jeff Schmidt TS Addict Posts: 101   +87

    The people complaining about digital/physical games. Look at Steam and the PC industry. How many pc games do people actually buy in store. And they only come with a code for the game. And sometimes when they do come with a disc. It usually just has a steam installer or a link to get steam.

    Microsoft tried to do this when the xbox one came out and they made a horrible mistake by not relating it to steam or explaining it very well. And how game prices drop so quickly on pc (well most except gta 5). But the game industry bitched and moaned about it and they reversed it. I wanted that since prices will actually be cheaper for games. Since publishers have to keep the price high because they do not make any money on a used game sale. So they would be more inclined to drop prices. We've seen this with indie games on pc/consoles without a physical release. But some people can't see that because they get too blinded by what gaming websites say and believe every word of it.

    I think if Microsoft would have kept with that things would have changed quickly. But they also had a bad announcement for the system. They should have had 2 bundles (one with and one without kinect). And they should have showed more games at it. They spend way to much time on tv and apps then they should have. They should have shorten those things and put longer videos together online for people to watch to get more info. Or just had a longer announcement in general. But it seemed like they were trying to sell a video game console as a media set top box (a roku). Which was a bad idea.
    lfhowell likes this.
  17. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 145   +38

    I wouldn’t mind. Most of my games are digital downloads, simply for the reason that I believe it doesn’t make sense. You have a disk based game, only to download gigabytes of patches on a monthly basis to fill up the local hard drive anyways.

    I would miss being able to play Blu-Ray movies though, I have a few of those that are rare enough to not be available for streaming.
  18. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 340   +193

    Digital cost more than Physical? Maybe for peasant consoles on SATA II still...
    GMG always has day 1 discounts.

    If people stopped paying $60 per game and $50 a year to use their console on the internet they already pay their provider for, they could have a nice PC.

    Lets say 2 $60 games per year and $50/yr subscription. Its the 5 year anniversary for PS4 and if you are a day 1 owner and subscriber you have paid $250 alone for subscription. $120 a year for two to three games over 5years, thats $600 on games alone. Thats $850 before the the console itself..which was $400 at launch. Thats $1,250 for a 30fps checkerboard console folks..but you say you can't afford a nice PC..would you still buy a console if the price tag said average expenses after 5 years was $1200?
    ShObiT, Reehahs and Morris Minor like this.
  19. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Evangelist Posts: 324   +113

    Someone at Comcast just had a orgasm.
  20. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,652   +318

    Let's say you bought a $800 PC. You buy two $60 games a year for it. When you bought it, they ran at over 30 FPS with most of the eye candy, but 5 years later you need to tweak them quite a bit to get a reasonable frame rate. You spent $600 on games, $800 more on a PC, for a total of $1400. Would you still buy a PC?
  21. gamoniac

    gamoniac TS Evangelist Posts: 358   +102

    Disc can get scratched, which happened to me. I use my Xbox's disc player twice so far to play old DVD, not for games. I have stopped buying games on disc for years, and won't go back. Games go on sale all the time on Xbox. Game Pass provides a good Vale too. Besides, Microsoft made old Xbox 360 games playable on the new console, but that only works for downloadable games, not disc-based games. I think the market is ready for a disc less console.
    lfhowell likes this.
  22. misor

    misor TS Evangelist Posts: 1,397   +303

    why this hassle?

    just adopt steam's way: associate product codes/cd-keys (of physical copies) to the user account.

    disclaimer: I don't own any console so I don't know if play station and xbox copies have cd-keys/product codes.
    Reehahs likes this.
  23. lexster

    lexster TS Maniac Posts: 432   +212

    This is just one more reason not to buy XBox. No Thank You Microsoft.
  24. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 729   +472

    A quick google search reveals the blu-ray drive price to be in the region of ~£50 so bit less than $100. Other savings would come from any license fees attributable to content protection of blu-ray and lower power hardware.
  25. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 729   +472

    A well written comment.

    If it were not for exclusives, than a PC would be fine.

    My last complete PC build was in 2011 where I spent ~$800 to build a PC with 4x performance of PS3. I have upgraded the GPU twice (2nd hand) for outlay of $120 each time since I could sell the old GPU for $100. As of now my PC with GTX 690 has performance of 2x that of PS4 Pro and 1.5x of Xbox One X.

    With the games these days being released often without demos for ridiculous prices, I would rather not pay a premium to be a Beta tester. Hence, unless they game is by CD-Project, I wait until the price is dropped to half in sale at least or lower to buy them.

    The only games I would buy on console would be the exclusives which are dwindling in numbers.

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