First detailed by Brad Sams of Thurrott.com, Microsoft has been experimenting with a disc-less Xbox One S console codenamed Xbox Maverick, with a launch window thought to be around Q1 2019. According to our sources, we now know a little bit more about the timing and marketing name of this intriguing new console.
Microsoft is reportedly set to call the disc-less Maverick console the "Xbox One S All-Digital Edition," with preorders aiming for mid-April 2019 and with general availability coming in early May 2019. It looks as though it could be near-global simultaneous launch for almost all existing Xbox markets.
The disc-less Xbox One S would be a first for the company, offering fans the ability to ditch discs altogether and go all-in on digital game licenses. As Microsoft pushes for greater access to its game library via things like the Xbox Game Pass digital subscription and the incoming streaming service Project xCloud, dropping the disc drive from the "All-Digital Edition" should make it the cheapest Xbox console yet, although we have no word on pricing just yet or whether the console will see any design refinements beyond simply dropping the disc drive.
In addition to the disc-less Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, we've heard Microsoft may be gearing up to announce a Fortnite Edition console with a custom Fortnite design, rather than a simple game bundle. It's unclear whether the Fortnite console would be a regular S, an X, or a disc-less version at this time, but we'll keep you posted as soon as we know more.
As always with these sorts of rumors, take them with a pinch of salt until the official confirmation, as plans can and do change, but this is looking pretty solid right now. Losing the disc drive puts a limit on the amount of 4K content you can consume on Xbox, particularly outside of the USA where 4K digital video offerings are lacking compared to physical 4K Blu-ray discs. But going all-digital brings benefits like pre-loading of games, and instant refunds via the Microsoft Account page.
Whether or not the discless future will extend to the rumored next-gen Xbox Anaconda and Lockhart "Scarlett" range consoles remains to be seen, but if the All-Digital Edition proves successful, it may tip Microsoft's hand.
Would you be interested in cheaper, all-digital Xbox hardware? Hit the comments and let us know.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!