Microsoft will take a major leap towards discless gaming when the company launches an Xbox One S without a disc drive next month, according to a new report.
Windows Central has found a product listing for an Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, suggesting that pre-orders will begin mid-April.
That means the console will likely head to stores and other online retailers in May, ahead of the company’s E3 event the month following.
Given the codename “Xbox Maverick,” the news of a discless Xbox was first leaked in November, with the company long-rumored to be releasing a discless console with games that can be pre-installed or downloaded from the Microsoft Store.
The iteration also means some games developers and studios will sell consoles with their latest titles pre-installed – games that cannot be removed or uninstalled further down the line if users want to free up space for other titles.
Without a disc drive, the new console will likely be cheaper than the current Xbox One S, which currently retails for $299 on the Microsoft Store, bundled with a free game.
One of the reasons why Xbox One was so popular amongst not only hardcore gamers but casual gamers was because the device came packaged with a Blu-ray drive – removing this will likely cut manufacturing costs significantly, savings Microsoft can pass on to customers.
In recent months, Microsoft has been pushing the Xbox Game Pass heavily, a new subscription service that offers gamers access to more than 100 titles – a Netflix for gaming, so to speak.
The company has even launched Xbox Game Studios titles such as Crackdown 3 and Sea of Thieves as original games, offering users more choices when playing.
Although Microsoft has yet to reveal the numbers of its Game Pass service, the company has said that millions of players pay monthly for the service, suggesting that it’s a lucrative area where the company envisages growth.
That attitude mirrors Apple’s vision to rely more on services and subscriptions as hardware sales fall industry-wide.
Microsoft is also working on a new streaming service called xCloud, which will use Xbox One S hardware in servers and allow games to be streamed to PCs and mobiles.
High-end titles that typically require an Xbox in order to play will be able to be streamed on iOS and Android for the first time, opening up new possibilities in the world of mobile and console gaming.
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