According to a new report, Microsoft is working on new console hardware for release in 2019. It isn’t a hardware upgrade like the Xbox One X, however, but another step towards a more efficient and affordable Xbox One. The new hardware is said to remove the Xbox One’s disc drive, making it a 100% digital device. The upside is that Microsoft hopes to reach a price point of just $200 for the device.
The report comes from Microsoft-focused tech site Thurrott, which references several sources “familiar” with the Xbox manufacturer’s plans. Thurrott has previously reported on Microsoft’s ongoing next-gen console codenamed “Scarlet,” which isn’t planned for release until at least 2020.
Microsoft is reportedly approaching the release of this device with trepidation. The reaction towards Microsoft’s initial Xbox One announcement, which defined the console as digital-only, was met harshly by the gaming community and is considered one of the factors that helped the PS4 achieve success. As a result, it’s likely that Microsoft will position this rumored console as entirely optional – an alternative to its disc-drive functional platforms like the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
For now, Microsoft is already strategizing regarding how to make a digital-only platform a more enticing option for Xbox gamers. Microsoft plans to offer owners of physical games an option of trading in their games at partner retailers for digital ownership of games. Simply take the physical disc into a Microsoft store and they’ll attach ownership to an Xbox account and take the disc in trade.
Whether or not the greater gaming audience is ready for an all-digital platform remains to be seen, but Microsoft clearly hasn’t given up on the idea despite the initial Xbox One reaction. The next two or three years are going to be uniquely exciting with regards to new PlayStation and Xbox console releases.