A new report suggests that Microsoft will be releasing another version of the Xbox One console in 2019, with this model featuring digital-only gameplay. The rumored console would not feature a disc drive and would only play digital games, making it the first major console to do so.
This wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has redesigned the Xbox One. The company made headlines earlier during the console's life cycle when it announced the Xbox One X, an upgrade on the Xbox One that would nevertheless play all the same games as its previous iteration. While the technological specs of the Xbox One X remain quite impressive, fans were confused by the statement that Microsoft seemed to be making with the newer model, with many wondering who exactly the console appealed to that wasn't already an Xbox One owner. The Xbox One X has outpaced the PS4 in growth in its first full year, but given how long the PS4 has been a sales leader, those figures might not necessarily tell a complete story.
Still, the success of the Xbox One X - and to a significantly lesser extent the Xbox One S - has seemed to prompt yet another design overhaul for the Xbox One. A report from tech website Thurrot suggests that, according to insider sources who are intimately familiar with Microsoft's plans for the console, the company will be announcing a disc-less variant of the Xbox One at E3 2019. The console will only play digital games, but without needing a disc drive, there's speculation that the digital-only Xbox One could start as low as only $200 USD.
The report also speculates on a way Microsoft might be able to entice current Xbox One owners to give the newest, digital-only Xbox One a shot. The company will reportedly launch a "disc-to-digital" program that allows those who participate to turn in physical game discs in exchange for digital download codes at participating retailers. While it sounds nice in theory, most people who own physical copies of games do so because they enjoy the visual of a large games library - digital downloads are already a major element of the industry, and its down to preference for a lot of the community.
Apparently, the digital-only Xbox One will also be accompanied by a new Xbox One S with a lower price point and a disc drive. All of this information, if true, would strongly indicate that a next-generation Microsoft console is still at least two years away, with a 2020 announcement still the most likely.