Originally reported last year, Microsoft has been working on a version of the Xbox One without a disc drive.
Now, according to a report by Windows Central, it looks like the all-digital console is nearly upon us. The “Xbox One S All-Digital Edition” is set to launch in May, with pre-orders beginning next month, and it will be the first Xbox console to launch without a disc drive. The price is currently unknown, but rumors from last November priced the console at around $200.
The console looks like it’ll focus primarily on Xbox Game Pass and the upcoming Project xCloud streaming service. Microsoft has been heavily pushing Game Pass since its launch, even going so far as to put all their first party titles, like the recent Crackdown 3, on the service as soon as they launch, and an all-digital Xbox is a perfect fit for those who use Game Pass for the bulk of their games.
Microsoft is no stranger to having multiple tiers of the same console, starting with the Xbox One S and Xbox One X this generation and continuing into the next generation with Xbox Anaconda and Xbox Lockhart. Microsoft’s recent strategy has been to spread the Xbox brand to as many devices as possible in order to make Xbox less of a specific piece of hardware and more of a platform. The Xbox One family of devices continues to grow, Microsoft first party titles are becoming more and more frequent on PC, and Xbox Live is spreading to non-Xbox devices.
Project xCloud looks to broaden the Xbox platform even further, streaming Xbox games to not only consoles (like this all-digital Xbox One) and PC, but also mobile phones and tablets. For example, the xCloud trailer (which you can check out below), shows Forza Horizon 4 running on an Android phone and Halo 5 being played on a tablet with touch controls.
Choice has been the focal point of Microsoft’s recent decisions for Xbox, and multiple devices are just the beginning. The release of an all-digital Xbox One would make three Xbox One devices available to gamers, all playing the same games, just in different ways. As services like Game Pass continue to evolve, and as streaming continues to become a more and more viable way to engage with games, a multitude of options will make themselves available to gamers whether it be the device they play on or the way they get their games.
Regardless, the all-digital Xbox One rumors are still just rumors, so take them with a grain of salt. If you’re more interested in Microsoft’s next gen offerings, then check out more about Xbox Anaconda and Lockhart here.