Microsoft’s newly revealed Xbox One S All-Digital Edition presents a disc-less alternative to traditional console gaming. However, the design itself seems puzzling. Though it drops the internal disc drive, the remnants of its existence have been found inside.
The latest version of the Xbox One had long been rumored prior to its reveal. Leaks that correctly pointed to the console’s existence first arose last year. The idea of the box is simple: provide a digital-only Xbox for the lowest price point yet at $250. So long as you ignore cheaper online prices for older Xbox One models/bundles, gamers save 50 bucks. The console also includes three free games: Sea of Thieves, Forza Horizon 3, and Minecraft. Microsoft plans to release the consoles on May 7, which is about a month shy of their E3 2019 briefing where next-gen platforms are heavily rumored to debut.
As reported by Windows Central, technology YouTuber Austin Evans posted an in-depth look under the hood of the All-Digital Xbox. His inspection reveals that, somewhat surprisingly, the guts are largely identical to the Xbox One S’. The only substantial difference is the absence of the disc drive. All that remains is a vacant space where it once sat. The eject button still resides on the frontal radio frequency board. The new casing just covers it up.
Evans later discovers an extra SATA port, as well as proprietary power ports, on the motherboard. For those unaware, The SATA port basically connects components like optical or hard drives to the board, so these were likely used to power the now absent disc drive. Why Microsoft choose to leave them is unclear. Evans points out that their presence means owners could, in theory, install their own Blu-ray drive (though he debunks the idea of adding a second hard drive). The video shows that the console homepage still lists the Blu-ray player app. However, booting it up leads to an error message indicating the lack of the hardware. See inner workings of the new Xbox in the video above.
While the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition has merely been presented as a cheaper Xbox One S with less guts, it’s almost surprising how simplified the approach was. Microsoft pretty much just ripped out the disc drive, covered up the disc slot, and called it a day. One has to wonder if Microsoft wants or cares if people upgrade the box with their own Blu-ray drives given what they left behind. Or maybe the job really was that slapdash and no one gave it much thought. On an added note, Evans points out that Microsoft could have used the added internal space to rearrange things in order to possibly make a smaller box. That would have been a nice touch of convenience.