IF YOU HATE PHYSICAL MEDIA, we have good news for you son, Microsoft is going disc-less with a new Xbox One.
Redmond's so-called "Xbox One S All-Digital edition" is due to launch on 7 May, according to documents Windows Central has got its feelers on. There'll be no Blu-ray drive, which given it's not a 4K player like the drive in the Xbox One X is no great loss, and instead, all games will need to be downloaded onto the console directly.
There's no official acknowledgement of the console's existence from Microsoft, nor any hint at how much cheaper it'll be than the Xbox One S. But it's a hint of the direction Microsoft is moving with its gaming division.
With Project xCloud game streaming soon to be available for testing, Microsoft seems poised to go down the all-digital route.
That's all well and good if you have access to a fast broadband connection, as modern games now number in tens of gigabytes, which on a slow connection can take bloody ages to download.
But we suspect physical media won't have had its day until the spread of fibre broadband is ubiquitous and 5G is up and running.
After that though, with the likes of Google's Stadia game streaming service on the horizon, it looks like the age of the disc would be coming to an end.
That would be no bad thing as it would cut out the need to publish games on physical media, which should, in turn, make the production of games more affordable, at least on the publishing side. And it would cut down on the environmental impact of making and packaging a load of discs.
So yeah, don't be surprised if the next Xbox is very focussed on downloads and streaming. We expect to see a new Xbox potentially at this year's E3 given the console looks to arrive around 2020. µ
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