Xbox Isn't Trying to Push Customers to All-Digital


That’s good. Hoping the next generation Xbox console has an internal disc drive as opposed to the optional external disc drive that Sony is doing with the current PlayStation 5 model.

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Unfortunately, I think they’ll likely go with external for a lot of the same reasons as the PS did.

  1. it’s a way to pass along the costs to those that want it. Phil kind of mentioned that there aren’t as many companies buying / selling the drives as there used to be as most other consumer products don’t have them, which implies that they cost more than they used to also.

  2. Phil said the majority of users don’t use it - so again, cuts costs in design. I remember him mentioning the removal of the TOSLINK for Series consoles being something that maybe cut costs on the console by $5 or so per unit, but then saying it’s a several hundred-million-dollar decision to do that when you look at the life of the console. Say their costs are $20 / device, and they sell 10 million of a discless model, that cuts $200 million in costs, not including being able to have smaller boxes which makes storage & shipping cheaper.

  1. It’s an extra component of a largish size to try to fit into the design & have cooling for, where if you do it external, you can find a few other options for how it fits into your design language, doesn’t really need the cooling because the heat is more self-contained.

  2. Making it an optional extra means that people may be more likely to consider digital, since they’d have to buy a drive as well if they want a disc. Digital is typically more profitable.

I personally am one that does prefer to have a drive - and in general would love to have it inside as well, but I think it’s unlikely that they’ll go that route since Sony has already made it easy for them to introduce it as an option.


Fully external drive could be forward-compatible.


I believe Blu-ray licensing costs are an added cost as well.

The OG Xbox required us to buy a remote control to play DVDs, and the cost of that paid for the license.

I personally like the add-on option because it can reduce the cost of the console.

All this said, the biggest issue with Xbox games on discs is the fact that many of them don’t have the game on the disc. These aren’t experiences you can play offline entirely. Owning the disc honestly doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Despite PlayStation’s move to external drives, I see a commitment to physical because their games, as well as all 3rd party titles, include a playable copy of the game without any connection.


Yeah, I was keeping it simple, but I know the Blu ray licensing is one of the reasons why even on the Xbox One they didn’t install the app to play movies right away because they didn’t want to eat the cost of the license to play the disc unless you actually were going to use it.

I didn’t know the license was built into the remote cost on the original, that’s interesting

Yeah - that had occurred to me also, it would be nice if that’s the case :slight_smile:

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Yeah, sadly I think that you’ll end up being right. Of course, if they have an optional disc drive available for sale, while better than nothing, I just see that as being even more greedy than Microsoft already is. UGH.

Hopefully, the disc drive is internal for at least one more console generation.

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They could add more RAM, storage, a better GPU or other improvements for the same bill of material without spending on an optical drive. While I see how it could come off greedy, no point in the majority of the market paying more for a niche capability.


They might not have but their customers have already decided what they want, a separate external disc drive seems like the way to go going forward

At least that way they’ll still have the option, that being said, with the likely handheld on the way and the direction of the industry, physical isn’t long for this world


Yeah, all true. But I don’t see any of those other things costing the same as an optical disc drive which is what $15 bucks? None of that other stuff is costing only $15 bucks. lol

I think the drive would be closer to $30, and probably not reducing in cost (maybe increasing) since the market is getting smaller.

I think you’d be surprised at how things add up. For example, I’ve seen tear downs that had the APU for some consoles in the 80-100 range. They could have a larger processor with that extra $30.

That said, they’d probably release the same thing but take less loss lol.


Haha. True. No argument here. Just have to wait and see what Microsoft does in two years.

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Put the internal drive in the bin next gen I’m all for it. Console can be smaller, cooling is easier and the majority of people will never use it so make the “main” box cheaper (even by a small bit) and have an external for those that want it.

One fly in the ointment for me though and that’s back compat. with previously owned disc games. I only buy digital now, but, still have a small collection of OG Xbox, 360 and one games that I chuck into the drive for another playthrough. If MS really want to lean on back compat. and preservation going forward but also want to ditch the drive as standard then I’d be expecting a disc to digital program to let me switch those licenses (this would have already happened if all those Nuclear submarine haters hadn’t ruined the X1 launch :wink: )

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The market is driving this and I’m one of the culprits. I only bought one game last year on disc (Jedi Survivor). I got rid of most of my plastic boxes and only kept the games in steelbook cases.

An optional external disc drive would be nice for the next Xbox, i still have over 100 physical games here (mostly 360).

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Yeah, I’m still wishing that they had been able to do some of their X1 plans. I think a lot of people now see the value of having shows tied to game franchises, and I liked the game sharing with family stuff and ability to not use discs.

Weren’t there rumors of them looking at disc to digital again a few years back?

Realistically we know they are trying to push customers to all digital, just like PC did decades ago.

There are way more benefits for them compared to the positives for the consumer for example:

  • Reduce manufacturing/production costs.
  • Eliminate additional costs to the distributor/retailer.
  • Less stress on the devs to have a build ready for the disc (which will need a day one patch anyway).
  • More control on pricing (no $5 bargain bucket sales).
  • Easier to manufacture new hardware without media restrictions.
  • Easier to manage back-compat.
  • Can reduce their carbon waste emissions.
  • Can reduce their amount of waste going to landfill.
  • Reduce hardware costs
  • Easier to manage demand (quicker and cheaper to make more licence keys rather than print more games).
  • Quicker to release games (can be available within seconds).
  • They can upsell consoles with larger capacity or additional storage drives.
  • Restricts second hand selling, causing people to buy new.
  • They would have greater control of how you use your games/licenses e.g they could lock them behind a small monthly subscription.

Some of these things can also be consumer friendly however it will always fall in their favour, it’s why Xbox did previously try to ‘push’ customers in this direction during the XBOne era.

I personally prefer digital, the only thing I hope MS do if we eventually go into a all digital future is:

  • A digital marketplace where we can sell our old digital licenses for Games & DLC.
  • Continue to allow us to share games with friends/ family.
  • Continue to allow third party sites to competitively sell digital keys.
  • Continue to allow us to transfer/use our keys in other platforms (Geforce Now).
  • Don’t put our keys behind a paywall.

I don’t think we ever see a reality where you would be able to re-sell digital games or DLC. In my mind, when you buy a used product you’re paying less because it has been opened/touched/handled/possibly been degraded, there are also a finite number of copies in existence.

With digital, the used product is identical to a new one and there are no limits in copies. I don’t see what terms would make re-selling digital copies realistic.


I think some companies might consider it with some restrictions and for the benefits it could bring

  1. Xbox might consider it as it would be a way of making the platform much more enticing for buying games there

  2. If people can get some money back from the games they buy it would potentially get them to buy and play more than they would have before, kind of like the GP method

  3. If people sold their license, make it go back into their account as credit that needs to be spent on other games as it ensures that money stays in the ecosystem

  4. Assuming third party publishers were on board, let’s say Capcom, if someone bought RE4 at launch, sold the licence to get I dunno, 10% back, that 10% would have to go into another Capcom published game

I do think if Xbox was able to get some major third parties on board and the right restrictions were in place it could be a very good idea and maybe lead to increased revenue and engagement for a lot of publishers

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There were some patents reported a couple of years back on this but they seemed to revolve around using a separate device to read the license from the disc to validate on a discless console. Which I guess could only ever be a temporary solution as if it was a one and done then theoretically you could just then give the disc to how ever many other people to do the same thing.

I can’t think of any way to do it on a one off/permanent basis that wouldn’t require you to hand over the physical disc afterwards either directly to MS or to a store (as reported by Brad Sams around the X1 launch).

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I think a disc to digital system is probably too much work for not enough gain

I think the best you can hope for going forward is that external disc add-on as it lets them avoid the backlash of digital consoles going forward but also means they can get rid of the mandatory disc drive that almost nobody is using in each console