Towards the end of last year, rumours started spreading that Microsoft was planning a discless Xbox One to be released later this year. With two new generation consoles also in development and proposed for release next year, it would make sense for Microsoft to release what would likely be the final Xbox One console before the next generation is released. However, some gamers are rightfully concerned about an all-digital future, especially when they have large disc collections, and it seems like this future might be arriving sooner rather than later. Thurrott has tried to ease those fears by providing more details on Microsoft's plans for the console.
Microsoft will be planning a "disc-to-digital" programme. Players will be able to take their discs to any participating retailer and swap their disc for a digital copy of the game. There are no further details on this programme yet, such as which retailers would be participating and whether the service involves a fee, but we would expect those details to be revealed alongside the console's official announcement.
The aim of a disc-free console is to reduce the entry cost of the Xbox One. Microsoft is trying to reduce this entry cost by as much as US$100, and removing the disc drive from the console would make up a significant part of that. There will likely be other ways the company "trims" the console, although they'll try to do this without impacting the gaming experience.
This doesn't necessarily mean that Microsoft will be getting rid of discs completely in the near future. Despite their plans to focus on streaming services, the company does still sell a significant portion of its games on disc. Until those players are able or want to move onto digital, they can't afford to alienate those players completely.
Windows Central predicts that pre-orders for the console will be available in April, which would mean the console will be revealed before E3 and possibly during this month's Inside Xbox episode on March 12th. Whether the console will keep its rumoured name of Xbox One S All-Digital Edition remains to be seen.
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