Given the prevalence of high-speed internet in the United States and the disdain that many gamers have for swapping out Blu-ray game discs, it’s likely that the optical drive on your console might not get much use. The same could be said for movie watching, with many people opting for streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu versus accumulating stacks of Blu-ray discs.
Microsoft has apparently gotten the hint, which is why it has been developing a new Xbox One S variant under the codename Xbox Maverick. According to a new report from Windows Central, the official retail name for the console will be Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. The console will completely ditch the optical drive, meaning that the only way to install games will be through downloading them from the internet.
According to the publication, pre-orders for the console will open up in mid-April, and global availability will commence the following month.
Microsoft is clearly putting more of an emphasis on subscription services like its Xbox Game Pass, which is an all-you-can eat buffet of Xbox One games that you download to your console and can play as much as you want. The company is also touting Project xCloud, which is a cross-platform gaming service that could eventually swallow up Xbox Game Pass.
By taking out the optical drive, Microsoft will almost certainly lower the price of entry of the console, making it accessible to even more gamers around the globe. It remains to be seen if this “discount” will result in any increased market share gains against the dominant player in the current-generation console market, the PlayStation 4.