Microsoft is Building an Xbox Without Disc Drive

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When Microsoft launched the Xbox One, it cashed on the idea that gamers would favor digital content over physical discs — a gamble it had to backtrack on almost instantly after the console was advertised. Now, according to a new report from Thurrott, the company may be revisiting the idea of a digital-focused game console.

Mainly, Thurrott claims that people intimate with Microsoft plans say that the company is preparing to release an Xbox console without a disc drive.

Thurott’s Brad Sams says that the new gaming console is essentially an Xbox One S with the optical drive taken out– a change sketched to bring the Xbox One hardware’s price to the lowest point imaginable. The final unit is supposed to cost $200 or less.

Already have a number of disc-based Xbox One games? Sams says that won’t be a difficulty. Alongside the new console, Microsoft is said to be launching a “disc-to-digital” program that will provide players to trade in their discs at preferred 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 a public backlash.

On top of this rumored disc-less console, Thurrott also reports that Microsoft will release an updated Xbox One S console that holds 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 declined to comment on this piece of news.

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