A few months ago rumors circulated about an all-digital Xbox One S console (opens in new tab). It was reported at the time that the system didn’t have a disc tray, and would instead rely on digital downloads and Xbox Game Pass to install new games.
Not only is that system actually in development but, according to new sources, it could be coming out as soon as May.
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These sources spoke confidentially to Windows Central (opens in new tab), who reports that the new system – informally called Xbox Maverick and formally to be rebranded as the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition – will be available globally in all regions in May 2019.
That would mean the console would be available ahead of E3 2019 and Microsoft's keynote, which many speculate the company could use to announce the next generation of Xbox consoles.
The evolution of Xbox
If all the details are accurate, the All-Digital Xbox One S is a crucial system for Microsoft. It will test the waters for the next-generation of consoles and could prep the company for an all-digital future.
If a single report isn't convincing on its own, it's worth mentioning that this follows months of reports about a disc-less next-gen console from Microsoft called Project Scarlett and would come just weeks after Microsoft’s Project XCloud talk (opens in new tab) that’s slated to happen at this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC 2019).
If true, it would be a historic first for the game industry – Microsoft would be the first of the Big Three console makers to try a non-physical media home console. (Sony released an all-digital handheld called the PSPGo almost 10 years ago, but that was discontinued once the PS Vita came out.)
Beyond an interesting design philosophy, the All-Digital Xbox One S could be an incubator for Microsoft's XCloud game streaming service and double as a way to grow the number of Xbox Game Pass subscribers.
That said, if users don't adopt the new console or take umbrage with its eschewing of physical media it could be a potentially bad omen for the next generation of consoles.
Editor's Note: The above image is a photoshop rendering of what the All-Digital Xbox One S could look like, and is not a representation of the final product.
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