Team Xbox has been quietly developing next-generation Xbox consoles for a while, but they might just have another console coming. An all-digital Xbox One is reportedly being prepped for release this May, with pre-orders going live in April.
Rumors around the disc-less Xbox One have circulated since at least November. Windows Central published a new report today, citing sources close to the all-digital Xbox One project. The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is reportedly the official name for the console. Codenamed Xbox Maverick, the new digital-only console is aiming to open pre-orders in mid-April. Microsoft might have the system on store shelves in early May.
If these rumors are true, it will be the first all-digital system from the big three console manufacturers since Sony’s PSP Go in 2009. That portable system lacked a UMD drive and was never truly successful. Microsoft’s foray into a digital-only console will likely fare better a decade later especially as a digital shift has been occurring in console spaces for years.
The physical-digital divide has been shrinking on consoles as more and more users buy their games digitally. Nielsen’s US Games 360 Report for 2018 showed that 34 percent of console players preferred digital purchases, and 71 percent of PC players prefer digital. Alongside that, digital game sales have continued to increase year-over-year.
Microsoft itself has been pushing for a more digital-focused future with the Xbox Game Pass subscription service. Xbox Game Pass allows subscribers to download and play any game on the service, all for a single monthly fee. The service offers hundreds of games, with more being added regularly. All of Microsoft’s new first-party games are available day-and-date with their retail releases, making the service a good way to access a lot of games.
Project xCloud, Microsoft’s game streaming service, is another showcase of the company’s push towards a digital-only future. Microsoft’s game streaming service, as well as Google’s streaming project, have yet to publicly launch. Sony’s PlayStation Now streaming service has also been available for years and lets users play a range of PS2, PS3, and PS4 games.