The months leading up to the Xbox One launch were fraught with indecision and poor choices made by Microsoft. Gamers were originally supposed to have an always-online console with really minimal disc support. As late as the summer season of 2013, Microsoft was still dabbling with the concept of releasing an Xbox One design totally lacking an optical drive. This would have been an extremely different machine compared to todays XBOX One, and might have considerably changed this generation of gaming and entertainment. After all of the indecision making and back and forth with gamers, is it possible that Microsoft could still launch a new Xbox One in the coming years without optical disk support whatsoever.
Today, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer informed OXM that the possibility of a disk free Xbox One was on the table up until the middle of 2013. While the concept was strongly thought about, the truth of massive game installers and slow-moving web connections brought the Microsoft to its senses. Regretfully, Internet speeds are still far too sluggish to download fifty gigabyte games in a sensible period for a majority of consumers, and an online-only console would have caused even more backlash.
What about the possibility of a secondary bare-bones model, though in a not so distant future? Looking forward, Microsoft could release an inexpensive version of the XBOX One, and considerably lower the obstacle to entry. If this theoretical budget machine lost the Blu-ray drive, dropped support for HDMI input, upped the hard disk to two terabytes, and came without a Kinect, the asking rate would drop considerably. Obviously, a deluxe variation would remain to be offered; however, this might serve a similar purpose as the low-end Xbox 360 Arcade.
The mass market isn’t all set to go digital-only, however Microsoft is clearly getting ready to invest there. By providing a less costly model without Blu-ray support, Microsoft could have its cake and eat it too. The routine Xbox One model continues to be the norm, and a bare bones digital-only device can serve very much the exact same market as Steam. Much like the PSP Go by Sony, this stripped-down machine would likely just function as a supplement to the regular console. Even if it’s relegated to a niche market, it ‘d be nice to see the Xbox One below the $300.00 price point earlier rather than later on.
Obviously, there are numerous potential outcomes for the future of the next-gen systems. Microsoft and Sony are bound to release console redesigns and numerous add-ons in the next few years. It is only a matter of time for a major player to makes a significant step away from physical media. The Steam Machine is due to be a good testing ground to see how well a console will be able to perform without an optical drive and function only as a cloud based gaming console. Check out the video below which breaks down the components of the Steam Machine and let us know if you think Microsoft could ever do something similar with the XBOX One in the comments section.