Microsoft confirmed the existence of a disc-less Xbox One today — the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition — during its Inside Xbox presentation today.
The All-Digital system will be available starting on May 7 for $250. That is $50 less that the normal Xbox One S, with the disc drive being the only hardware difference between the two.
Sony revealed the first details of its next system today, confirming that it will have a disc drive. It’s probably not a coincidence that Sony made this announcement earlier in the same day that Microsoft revealed new hardware.
“We think of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition as an option that caters to audiences who prefer to find and play their games digitally,” said Jeff Gattis, general manager of platform and devices marketing, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. “We’re not looking to push customers toward digital; it’s about meeting the needs of customers that are digital natives that prefer digital-based media and providing value with the most affordable Xbox One console.”
The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will come with three games: Minecraft, Forza Horizon 3, and Sea of Thieves. These are all games published by Microsoft.
The All-Digital Edition joins the Xbox One S and Xbox One X (the most powerful and expensive of the bunch) in the current Xbox family of systems.
The next generation
Whether the next generation of Xbox will be all digital is still to be determined, but the All-Digital Edition could influence that decision.
“Given this is the first product of its kind, it will teach us things we don’t already know about customer preferences around digital and will allow us to refine those experiences in the future,” Gattis noted. “We see this as a step forward in extending our offerings beyond the core console gamer and continuing our journey to reach more than 2 billion gamers worldwide.”
Microsoft has had digital gaming on the mind for a long time. The original version of the Xbox One was going to have a disc drive, but you would only need to use a game disc once to install the software to your system. You could then play the game digitally with that title bound forever to your account, although you could choose to share it with a select number of other accounts. Consumer backlash to the effect this had on sharing games with friends and re-selling discs caused Microsoft to revert this plan to a more traditional setup.