Microsoft is purportedly developing a disc-less version of its Xbox One console.
According to Thurrott (via Eurogamer), it’s thought this disc-less Xbox One will join Microsoft’s line of existing current-gen hardware rather than be a next-gen launch, and may be released as early as spring/Q2 in 2019. As it will only be able to play digital games, it could cost as much as $100 less than the present system.
In order not to dissuade sales to those who are interested but already own Xbox One games, Microsoft is thought to be considering a "disc-to-digital" program that will permit players to trade in their physical games for a digital code instead.
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. Thurrot added that it believes 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.
It’s an interesting step given Microsoft recently announced its much-awaited game streaming service, Project xCloud. 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.
"Developers and researchers at Microsoft Research are creating ways to combat latency through advances in networking topology, and video encoding and decoding," said Kareem Choudhry, corporate vice president, Gaming Cloud. "Project xCloud will have the capability to make game streaming possible on 4G networks and will dynamically scale to push against the outer limits of what’s possible on 5G networks as they roll out globally. Currently, the test experience is running at 10 megabits per second. Our goal is to deliver high-quality experiences at the lowest possible bitrate that work across the widest possible networks, taking into consideration the uniqueness of every device and network."