Microsoft unveils Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, starting at $249

Microsoft today unveiled the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, an all-new disc-less addition to its Xbox One console family. Revealed during its monthly "Inside Xbox" live show, the latest entry-level device cuts out the optical disc drive, debuting the console's lowest retail price to date at $249.

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition builds on Microsoft's existing Xbox One S, first debuted in 2016 as its baseline console, followed by flagship Xbox One X. The new All-Digital console embraces the ever-connected nature of modern gaming, designed to accompany a growing suite of digital services.

Leaked Xbox One S All-Digital info confirmed

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition comes as no surprise, following our extensive leaks leading up to its unveiling. As we exclusively reported last month, the Xbox One S All-Digital retains a form factor near-identical to the Xbox One S, with the same minimal white silhouette. With the disc drive and eject button now removed, it's all about cost-cutting for budget gamers. Otherwise, shared internals with its predecessor means the same features, performances, games, and accessories, but now available at a lower price.

General Manager of Platform and Devices Marketing at Microsoft, Jeff Gattis, expanded on its ambitions for the new console:

The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is about providing choice. As with anything we work on, our customers are at the center of our product development process and general consumer behavior suggests there's a strong appetite for digital experiences today. 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. 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 benefits of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is that it offers value and choice to customers that prefer the conveniences of an all-digital library. 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. 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.

The initial launch package will bundle the Xbox One S All-Digital 1TB, one wireless controller, and digital codes for Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, and Minecraft.

Like the Xbox One S, this new All-Digital package will support up to 1080p gaming with high dynamic range (HDR) for sharp, color-rich experiences. This doubles with 4K HDR video playback over downloads and streaming, while obviously cutting 4K Blu-ray capabilities. Other existing system-level features remain, including FreeSync variable refresh rates (VRR), Dolby Vision HDR, and Dolby Atmos audio.

All-digital gaming vs. discs

The Xbox One S All-Digital serves as a new avenue into the Xbox gaming ecosystem in 2019, ahead of a new hardware generation slated for 2020. It's not designed to be an upgrade for existing Xbox One S and Xbox One X owners, but rather innovate and expand Microsoft's portfolio in an ambitious new direction.

Related: The hidden cost of digital games

However, with the Xbox One S often available below its retail price at third-party retailers, the Xbox One S All-Digital falls into strange territory. While the disc-less device will eventually align with the full lineup, you can still find its 2016 predecessor at (or below) $249, and it has a disc drive. But for those embracing a clutter-free all-digital lifestyle, the Xbox One S All-Digital is an exciting shift for console gaming.

The Xbox One S All-Digital is currently slated for a May 7, 2019, worldwide release. The disc-less console is now available for preorder via the Microsoft Store, priced at $249 in the U.S.

Xbox accessories you'll love

Every one of these quality accessories is guaranteed to enhance your Xbox experience.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox One ($20 at Amazon)

PowerA's take on the Xbox One controller is an attractive pickup for budget-conscious gamers that nails all the basics.

Talon PDP Xbox media remote ($20 at Amazon)

The Talon PDP Xbox media remote is great for watching shows on your console.

Xbox One S vertical stand ($10 at Amazon)

Stand your console upright with this accessory.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.