As the next-generation of games fast approaches, it looks like Microsoft is testing the waters on a new, disc-less, version of the Xbox One.
According to Thurrott, the system is expected to launch spring 2019, though that may change, and could result in a price reduction of $100 or less. The article also mentions those with an extensive physical game collection who might be against this idea can visit a participating retailer, such as Microsoft Store, and trade the physical game for a digital version.
The last part is particularly interesting, since it would open all kinds of new ways to get discounts on digital games. Between sales, deals, buying used and things of the like, it’s entirely possible buying a physical version and then trading it for digital would be the way to go. It would also give players who opt for special editions that include a physical version to easily move to straight digital, without missing out. Better yet, with this being a constant possibility, it might pave the way for more discounts on digital codes, giving digital one of the advantages physical current has.
Naturally, this is all a rumor, though it also isn’t the first time Microsoft has tried some weird things with their systems. They’ve already launched subscription based systems, something they also tried with the 360, earlier this year and made multiple moves to increase their stake on the digital market. Xbox Play Anywhere gives players massive incentive to go digital, with Xbox Game Pass giving an absurd value for a small annual fee. Add to it Xbox Live Gold following Sony and offering Games with Gold and the average player should already have a lot of incentive to save the money and ditch the disc drive.
That being said, this plan also introduces an interesting potential problem too. Ever since the PlayStation and Sega Saturn released, game consoles have become more than just gaming devices. One of the biggest selling points of the PlayStation 3 was the fact it also played Blu-ray movies and it wasn’t uncommon for someone to want the ability to play DVDs from a Wii. Despite Sony not giving the PlayStation 4 the ability to play 4K Blu-ray movies, Microsoft added that functionality to the Xbox One line and has been a strong selling point. Even if these systems are cheaper, the cost of getting a decent Blu-Ray player is about the same, though even with $100 off it would still be more to simply buy a 4K Blu-ray player.
Time will tell how this idea goes over, though it certainly has the potential to lead to, if nothing else, a cheaper alternative to those who want to go full digital and stream.