When the Xbox One was still in its planning phases until mid-2013, Microsoft was strongly considering nixing its disc drive completely. The company was close to releasing a brand new console without any physical media capabilities. No DVDs, no Blu-ray flicks, no CDs (who uses those anymore?) and no video games on disc.
The Xbox One was almost an entirely digital machine.
That bit of research and development revelation was spoken about by Microsoft’s Phil Spencer in a recent interview with OXM UK. According to Spencer, the company was very close to going disc-less for the Xbox One.
“There was a real discussion about whether we should have an optical disc drive in Xbox One or if we could get away with a purely disc-less console…”
What stopped them from going to a land without physical media? Feedback and a potentially horrendous set of bandwidth problems. Here’s Spencer again.
“Obviously, after the announcement and E3, there was some feedback about what people wanted to change…
…when you start looking at bandwidth and game size, it does create issues.”
Good move, Microsoft. Here’s the rest of that quote.
“So we decided – which I think was the right decision – to go with the Blu-ray drive and give the people an easy way to install a lot of content. From some of those original thoughts, you saw a lot of us really focusing on the digital ecosystem you see on other devices – thinking of and building around that.”
A disc-less Xbox One would have been a great way for Microsoft to lose gamers like me. I like having the option to shop around for games on consoles. Physical media means I can buy my content from more than one store, and that means prices tend to fluctuate in ways that benefit me.
Perhaps the only way I’d go digital for games is if console makers started hosting sales similar to Steam. Show me deep discounts in huge quantities four times a year and we’ll talk about a digital age of gaming.
What do you think? Would you ever consider an Xbox One without a disc drive?