Based on a new report, Microsoft is working on an Xbox One system without a disc drive for a 2019 release. According to the report from Thurrott, the digital-only device will carry a smaller pricetag – possibly as low as $200 – in an attempt to lower the cost-of-entry to the Xbox One family of systems.
Thurrott also states that Microsoft will introduce a “disc-to-digital” program, which will allow players to trade their discs in to participating retailers in exchange for a digital version of that game.
At E3 this year, Microsoft teased its next generation of hardware, which Thurrott originally reported was codenamed “Scarlett.” This disc-less Xbox One system is not a part of that family, according to this report.
Microsoft originally launched Xbox One in 2013 with a bundled Kinect sensor at $499, which was $100 more than PlayStation 4 at launch. While many reasons have been attributed to PlayStation 4’s sales lead this generation, the price point has been often cited as a contributing factor. Not long after launch, Microsoft began selling Xbox Ones without the Kinect at a lower price, before discontinuing the Kinect all together in 2017. Microsoft currently sells four Xbox One models: three different Xbox One S models (500GB, 1TB, and 2TB) and one Xbox One X model (1TB). The prices currently range from $299 for a 500GB Xbox One S to $499 for the Xbox One X.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft and will update this story if we receive a comment.
Platform holders have been pushing toward a digital future for a while, so this report makes sense. However, Microsoft needs to reduce the downtime errors for digital purchases before this is a completely viable option. Just last week, a widespread outage rendered many players unable to start any owned digital games on their hard drives for the majority of an evening. Still, if the reports are true and this new Xbox One is not only cheaper, but Microsoft begins an initiative allowing players to trade discs in for digital versions, it could resonate with players who haven’t yet pulled the trigger on Microsoft’s current console.