While Microsoft has formally announced its heavily rumoured discless console, the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.
Rumours of a disc-less Xbox One first surfaced last November, when it was suggested this console would join Microsoft’s line of existing current-gen hardware rather than be a next-gen launch. Even then, it was expected to release as early as spring/Q2 2019, and as it would only be able to play digital games, it was reported it could cost as much as $100 less than the present system.
Microsoft has now confirmed the discless system will indeed launch on May 7th, and while it will ship with three of Microsoft’s biggest games already pre-loaded – Minecraft, Forza Horizon 3, and Sea of Thieves – the console will cost more than originally rumoured at £200 / €230 / $250USD.
The move to a wholly digital console during this generation is an interesting step given Microsoft recently announced its much-awaited game streaming service, Project xCloud and, of course, now offers its digital Xbox Game Pass service. The service, for which closed trials are starting now, uses Xbox console components embedded into Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing centres to deliver console games to phones, tablets and beyond.
Of course, both Sony and Microsoft are developing next-generation systems, too. For the latter, the new console has been codenamed Scarlett and is expected to retail sometime in 2020, and some believe a new Xbox One S with disc drive will also be announced in 2019, and that too will retail for less than its current price point.
Sony also released details about its next-gen console, the “PlayStation 5“, earlier this week. While Sony’s Mark Cerny would not confirm if the system would be called the PlayStation 5 – he would only refer to it as the “next-gen console” – he did reveal the upcoming console will support backwards compatibility, as well as current PlayStation VR hardware. He also confirmed it would also have a disc drive, therefore accepting physical media, and an SSD will enable the system to load much faster than its current-gen sibling. 8K and ray-tracing support will also be available, 3D audio, and boosted CPU and GPU, too.