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Disc-less Xbox One reportedly set for 2019, with 'disc-to-digital' program

While Microsoft's long-rumored "Xbox Scarlett" consoles are expected in 2020, a new report has emerged detailing a "disc-less" Xbox One on the horizon. According to a recent report from Thurrott.com, the next hardware release will ditch its disc drive, pursuing a low retail price of $200 or less.

The disc-less Xbox One is reportedly based on the existing entry-level Xbox One S, adopting an otherwise similar form factor. It's all about finding ways to reduce the manufacturing costs, welcoming a wider audience into the Xbox ecosystem.

The report also details a planned 'disc-to-digital' program launching for the console, allowing existing disc owners to convert select games to digital licenses. Under this you can trade discs at "participating retailers," hoping to ease the conversion for those invested in physical media. All this could launch as early as spring 2019, yet the firm isn't committing to a launch window internally.

For those unsure of a digital future, the report concludes with talk of a standard disc-compatible console, also set for 2019. This device would further cut costs for disc users, offering the benefits of traditional distribution. Microsoft is reportedly undecided on whether Xbox Scarlett will feature a disc drive, though set to make a decision "shortly."

What are your thoughts on a disc-less Xbox One? Let us know in the comments section below.

Matt Brown is a senior editor at Future for Windows Central. Following six years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Xbox and Windows PCs. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

42 Comments
  • I prefer physical discs, but I suppose I can get my head around digital, although I won't be buying an Xbox anytime soon, unless it's a immense upgrade, but I'm pretty happy with the Xbox One/X, playing games and streaming wise!!!!
  • No way! Xbox should keep its 4K Ultra HD Player.
  • I believe there will be 2 versions of Xbox, disc and disk-less
  • The biggest problem is the ISP'S. As long as they insist on the insane data caps I don't see how diskless or streaming gaming is going to be feasible. I'm paying $125/month for 600gb of data at supposedly 150mb download. With the way games are exploding I could literally blow 25% of my data on one game, just to install.
  • So glad that I don't have a data cap on my gigabit fiber through AT&T. We used to have a data cap through Comcast that we blew through two months in a row and luckily AT&T rolled out their fiber to our neighborhood after paying our overage fees twice with Comcast. Haven't looked back since.
  • what's a Data cap.. LOL... I think you should change ISP.. I don't mind a drive less system. I don't buy physical discs and I don't buy 4K blu-rays, I stream and buy digital. So its an affordable idea. More options is better then no options.
  • Changing ISPs isn't always an option. Comcast is the only high speed offering in my neighborhood. If I dump Comcast, my only other option is dial-up. I live in a city with a population of over half a million, so it's not like I'm out in the sticks or anything.
  • The only other option is CenturyLink DSL, max speed 20MP/S. Also with a 250GB soft cap.
  • I love the ignorance of this statement. Just change ISPs. In the US we have legal monopolies that are essentially allowed to do what they wish due to laws on the books that date back to the beginning of radio communication. There is usually only 1 or 2 options for "high speed" in a given area, and usually those have caps and are slow. Gigabit is almost non-existant outside of major metropolitan areas. On top of all of that, rural areas have NO options for cable internet speeds, having to rely on mobile or satellite providers.
  • "I am not an AT&T spokes person. Storage limited to 5GB. Speeds are subject to change"
  • You realize that the whole game can't even fit on a disk anymore right? Regardless you're downloading a ton... I get the issue, but that's with your ISP, not this change.
  • It blows my mind that anyone needs to consume that much data. I operate an online store from home and as a result am always online, I play Splatoon like mad, and I enjoy my Xbox One and 360 regularly, making sure to get my monthly Games with Gold. I use an average of 300GB per month.
  • My family of 4 consumes around 1TB of data consistently. Most of this is media & gaming. 300GB is a drop in the bucket.
  • Someone is utilising their internet illegally.
  • Or watching 4k steaming content from Amazon or Netflix. How about streaming TV? Not everyone is a pirate.
  • Bingeing one series on Netflix or Amazon in 4K can eat 90 Gigs. Games are rapidly approaching 150Gigs. I have a family of 3 and we go through a TB like water per month. Glad I have At&t fiber or I'll be hit hard by Comcast.
  • I'm in a household with two other guys, we all watch Netflix, we all play games online (which doesn't need much admittedly) and we all have consoles that auto update when required. 1TB doesn't take long to go through.
  • Game auto updates alone were killing me at first.
  • The only issue i see with it is being the loss of the ability to play DVD amd Blu-ray Disks. I have always appreciated not having to have another device on my entertainment system. I Stopped buying disk games shortly after my upgrade to Xbox one. To put it simply, you cannot Scratch, break, or loose a digital copy. And i doubt Microsoft will be going anywhere soon.
  • Data caps er? We have not had them in the UK for years, i think there may be a couple of providers that offer them, but they are not the norm.
  • Steam has been using disc-less for decades*, and its been fine. Even with 100gb games, downloads of that size are infrequent!
  • Data caps are still an issue with these game sizes. It's too early for the next console to be digital only. It's also nice to have a 4k disc drive. On a personal level, I prefer physical media even though I know they don't give a crap about that. I do love the idea of a stripped down S model to use as a Media hub and mini PC hooked to my TV. I even think it will attract people like my Father who isn't interested in gaming but would like the Xbox for everything else. But I have no interest in a digital only next gen console and I wouldn't purchase it.
  • Digital distribution is the biggest scam in media. Digital distribution allows a manufacturer to force all internet consumers to pay for distribution of things they may never have any interest in. The more someone downloads, the more network ISPs have to build. Netflix still doesn't make any profit, they killed a real industry that not only did but for thousands of people, and they are responsible of 1/3 of all internet traffic. I have never used Netflix and the same goes for most internet users, but all internet users pay 50% more for access because a minority of people want to stay indoors and watch TV. Download of anything over about 8GB creates a larger carbon footprint than that of a physically distributed blu-ray disc. Digital copies are deleted and downloaded repeatedly making this exponentially worse. This on top of the removal of ownership rights and I just can't believe I continue to see so many people who think this is in any way a good idea or good for people in general. Digital distribution of mammoth files is the reason Ajit Pai was able to let net neutrality expire and die. I beg people to see what is behind the curtain. And please, please, please, never forget the reason why most people, families, companies, and corporations in this selfish world operate: to make their lives better by convincing you they're making your life better.
  • Several of your assertions seem questionable to me...
  • To say the least. I especially like the assertion that "most" internet users have never used Netflix. That's comical.
  • There are ~130 million Netflix users and ~4 billion internet users
  • Bad idea going digital only without some type of rights to the content you've bought set into law (actual rights not
    "terms of service" rights or mandatory corporate friendly arbitration rights)
    if you have paid for content then your access to that content should not be subject to the whims of the righsholders, devs or Microsoft.
    Right now if Microsoft or the rights holders dont like you or if they cut some kind of deal with somebody else then they can make your digital library evaporate
  • Absolutely agree and I urge you and everyone to contact their local representatives and explain this problem to them. They will love to listen, trust me! We need help to get the message out!
  • I don't think you understand how purchasing a license works.
  • I have 6 Tb of connected storage, and it's 76% full. Most of my 300 game catalog is disc, and few of those are fully installed to a HDD. I like the convenience of digital access if you don't have to get up and install the disk that you've installed locally. If the disc-to-digital conversion resides in the cloud as envisioned, it would operate like a private Game Pass and simplify access to every game you own, instantly, other than non-BC games. There's probably a price to this model, and casual gamers may find that to be a stopper.
  • no problem as they should sell both versions ... I'd buy the one without drive
  • I bought the Xbox One S primarily as a 4k Blu-ray player. The only way I could see a disc-less Xbox winning out over a used Xbox One S is if it were portable like the Nintendo Switch.
  • I prefer disc based media. I bought a PS4 on launch day the only reason I bought an X1 was because the PS4 doesn't play cd's and I like having a machine that does everything I need. Sony is losing money on that decision cause I now only buy first party titles on the PS4 everything else I get on Xbox. Having a disc based drive that plays 4k bluray, DVD and CD'S means alot to me.
  • I use xb1x as my blue ray player, so the hardware is not for me. However, I'm interested in the disc to digital program. I like collection editon and if this program is free or cheap enough, i could get both collection stuff and digital.
  • Call me old fashioned but I will not purchase a console that does not have a blue-ray/dvd player built-in. My Xbox is a media centre and that most definitely includes the aforementioned media type. I don't care if I have to pay more for it.
  • You are old fashioned.
  • There will be two versions of Xbox coming out though, right? I thought one was meant for hard-core gamers and the other would be more for just streaming games or something? Wouldn't this one just fit into the latter?
  • If MS didn't price gouge Aussie customers when buying digitally this could work! But with physical disks being $30 cheaper than digital....nope
  • A saving of $200, for goodness sake what is the drive made of? Not being funny, but i can buy a complete 4K player for £150 in the UK. I am pretty sure it do not cost Ms that amount to stick a 4K drive into their machine. Peeps, they have been ripping you off.
  • I have a combination of downloaded games and physical games. I'm also a fan of buying used games at discounted prices. I'm thinking that a disc-less Xbox would kill all of that. As long as the new console is offered in both disc and disc-less, I'm cool.
  • Don't get rid of the 4K drive. I don't use my drive for games, but it's critical for movies. Is Microsoft going to convert my entire DVD and Blu-ray collection too? Didn't think so.
  • I have no issues with one of the Xbox One's successors being disc-less. But it seems like a poor move to release ANOTHER version of the Xbox One, especially since the successor is rumoured to appear a year later, just let the One play out its lifespan, then release a disc-less version of the Scarlett, or whatever it'll end up being called. I realise this may be an "Xbox TV" device, but still, I think they should just hold off. As it seems like the successor will likely be capable of running Xbox One games anyway, so why give people buyers remorse a year later? I also remember EB Games stance when the PSP Go got released, they refused to stock the system, so while transfer of physical to digital is available, businesses might not be overly keen on the idea. Also from an environmental standpoint, will the physical copies be able to be sold again as used by the places receiving them or would their license technically have been transferred and as a result the disc is just landfill?