When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it banked hard on the idea that gamers would favor digital content over physical discs — after the console was announced. Now, according to a new report from Thurrott, the company may be revisiting the idea of a digital-focused game console.
Specifically, Thurrott claims that people familiar with Microsoft plans say that the company is planning to release an Xbox console without a disc drive.
Thurott’s Brad Sams says that the console is basically an Xbox One S with the optical drive removed — a change designed to bring the Xbox One hardware’s price to the lowest point possible. The final unit is expected to cost $200 or less.
Already have a collection of disc-based Xbox One games? Sams says that won’t be a problem. Alongside the new console, Microsoft is said to be launching a “disc-to-digital” program that will allow players to trade in their discs at select stores for digital codes.
If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because it’s somewhat similar to the game-licensing strategy Microsoft originally planned for the Xbox One — a DRM-heavy system that made every physical game disc a one-time-use redemption key for digital games. Microsoft reversed that policy following public backlash.
On top of this rumored discless console, Thurrott also reports that Microsoft will release a revised Xbox One S console that retains the disc drive but still has a lower cost.
Neither console is confirmed to exist, but if Thurrott’s sources are right, we should hear about them soon: the sans-disc Xbox is reportedly targeting a spring 2019 launch.
Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.