With about three months to go before E3 2019, the Xbox rumors are already warming up. Microsoft has previously confirmed that it works on several new Xbox consoles, and now its plans appear to be in focus.
There is a lot of information out there about the new Xbox consoles, so we round up all the rumors and speculations in this post to help make sense of the matter. Keep in mind that while the sources of each rumor have proven to be reliable earlier, all that is mentioned here is unconfirmed, and as with all rumors, the plans are subject to change. With this hope it’s not so long …
A Disc-Free Xbox One
Counted for months and discussed at a conceptual level for years, the disc-free Xbox One is said to be the codename Xbox Maverick. Windows Central reported that this system will actually be called “Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.” Pre-orders for the console are said to be open in April, with the console then planned to be sold in May around the world.
This would be a first for Microsoft, as all previous Xbox hard drives contained a disc. Pricing has not been mentioned in any reports yet, but dropping the disk would probably lower the cost. In fact, the record-free Xbox One would be the cheapest Xbox One offer so far.
Also unclear at this stage is whether the disc-free Xbox One would contain any additional changes to the Xbox One hardware or design. WindowsCentral published a Photoshopped mock-up of what an Xbox One but a hard drive might look like ̵
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The video game industry, such as film, television and music before it, is increasingly training towards the digital space and away from physical media. Microsoft itself is pushing into the digital space with its new streaming service Project xCloud, which, according to Brad Sams, will enter a trial phase later this year. Another Microsoft subscription service, the Xbox Game Pass, proves to be popular already with millions of people signing up. It is clear that Microsoft is important for Microsoft in the future.
All digital hardware has been tried before, as Sony launched PSP Go back 2009 – but it failed. It has been a decade since that attempt, and general internet access and speed have improved since then. There are still parts of the world where internet access is limited and other places where speeds are less than big (hello Australia!). For those who prefer physical media, Microsoft continues to make Xbox One consoles with disk files, so there is no need to worry about any digital future that takes over, at least not yet.
An important part of Microsoft’s record-free Xbox One plans is what is called the “disk-to-digital” program. As part of this, users can trade in their console discs for a digital license for games they already own. The album for digital program is expected to start at about the same time as the record-free Xbox One console release in May, or a little earlier, Brad Sams reported. People will be able to visit Microsoft Store and Best Buy (and possibly others) to switch their CDs for digital licenses. Particular details about how this will work are unclear.
Perhaps it is not so much retailer that can be very pleased with the news, especially GameStop, whose business model for buy-sell trade falls on the remaining popular media. But no one asks players to care about the dealers’ health. If this is the way the deal goes, retailers will have to adjust. For its part, GameStop has diversified its offerings very late to focus more on digital options and physical content such as Funko Pop! toys and other physical goods.
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