Microsoft has unveiled a new version of its Xbox One console that does not feature a disc drive, marking the company’s biggest step yet away from physical media and retail middle-men towards an all-digital future where gamers purchase and download software directly from an online store.
The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition looks exactly like the existing Xbox One S, except with blank white casing where the disc drive opening would usually be.
It will perform exactly like the existing Xbox One S as well. It can still stream video in 4K HDR from various apps, play games in full HD and HDR, and output Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Audio. It will also use the same controller and have a 1TB hard drive. The only difference is games and movies must come via the console’s online store (which is the same as it is on all Xbox One consoles) rather than from a disc.
The move could give a glimpse at Microsoft’s console plans going forward. The company is gearing up to reveal its family of next-generation machines, code-named Scarlett, and it’s been strongly rumoured to include both a high-end version and a less expensive box. It’s possible the latter could rely on game downloads — or even game streaming — rather than physical media, which could lower build cost and allow for a smaller design.