The original Xbox One was released way back in November 2013, over 5 years ago. Usually, the console generations don’t last much longer than that with the exception of the previous one that lasted for over 8 years. This generation of consoles has also had a refresh in between, however, with the Xbox One X coming out in 2017, most experts claim that in spite of this refresh, the current generation of consoles is coming to an end and next-gen is on the horizon. Pretty exciting stuff, right? Yes, but apparently, another challenger has entered the arena. In a bizarrely anomalous turn of events, Microsoft is gearing up to release another Xbox One console this late in the generation.
Xbox One S All-Digital Edition:
Internally codenamed as “Maverick”, Microsoft looks set to unveil the new Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. As the name suggests, the new Xbox One is going to be a disc-less iteration of the Xbox One S. It would launch at around $200 dollars, making it the cheapest Xbox One console yet. The exclusion of the Blu-ray drive reduces manufacturing costs allowing Microsoft to go all in with really aggressive pricing. The name has also made a few people chuckle as it can be abbreviated to Xbox One SAD Edition or Xbox One SADE, named after the famous British singer.
The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will probably have the same internals as the standard Xbox One S. There is a chance that further non-gaming features might not make the either but we’ll have to wait for that. In any case, the new Xbox One S will probably perform the same way as the older one. Your existing digital Xbox One and 360 libraries would run just as well with similar performance and experience. This newer model would allow newer players to enter the Xbox landscape who don’t wish to spend so much on a new console, especially this late in the generation. According to rumours, the Xbox One SADE will launch on the 7th of May, 2019.
The Rise of Digital Market:
The digital games market has been rapidly increasing for a few years now. These days, very few people actually own physical discs, especially on Xbox with services like Game Pass offering good value. I own over a hundred games on my Xbox One and not even a single one of them is physical; and this is the case with most other Xbox players. This lets developers cut costs on physical disc production and is also convenient for most players as it saves the hassle of changing discs over and over again. You do have to download games but with rising internet speeds, that isn’t as big of a problem anymore.
To boost digital sales even more, Microsoft is also rumoured to be launching a ‘Disc-to-Digital’ program along with the new Xbox One. This will allow users to fully transition into Microsoft’s digital ecosystem. Disc-to-Digital program would allow Xbox users to deposit their disc-based games in return for a digital license at select retailers. This makes the move into the digital realm easier for players and also eliminates the risk of damaging a disc. In the long run, this would help Microsoft in gradually converting its player base to the digital landscape and make the transition to the digital future easier.
Xbox One S All-Digital bundles:
There have also been a few leaks of the box art for the new Xbox One S revealing some exciting launch bundles. The box art seems to indicate that the console would hit the shelves with a 1 TB HDD along with Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves and Minecraft. There are also rumours that the console could come with 6 months of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Live Gold. This would introduce newer players to hundreds of games on the Xbox Game Pass catalogue for free.
What is the point of a new Xbox One?
You’re probably still confused about why Microsoft is releasing another Xbox One this late in its life cycle. There are a few reasons for why this move makes total sense. Over the past year or so, we’ve all pretty much established the fact that streaming is the future for gaming. With new streaming platforms like Google Stadia and Xbox Project xCloud ready to roll out, we’re seeing a trend here. The need for powerful gaming systems is eventually going to die out because the streaming services don’t require much local processing power. As the processing is done on the data centers, users would be able to stream AAA games at 4k60 or even higher on under-powered and cheaper machines.
This means that in the future, Project xCloud would probably be able to run next-gen games on older consoles like the Xbox One S. By introducing an Xbox One at such a low price, Microsoft would be able to expand its user base massively. When the time comes to bid farewell to this current generation consoles, they might not actually die out. It is extremely likely that Microsoft will support Project xCloud on the previous gen consoles. This would allow even older consoles to run next-gen games. Therefore, this would also blur the generational boundaries between current-gen and next gen consoles.
This is the perfect time for Microsoft to be releasing an all-digital console with reports of Microsoft going big with xCloud at E3 2019. The console would be a good entry point for users to experience the Xbox ecosystem. Project xCLoud will also have a huge hand in future proofing the Xbox One S. However, Microsoft is still reportedly hard at work on their next-gen consoles codenamed “Scarlett”. This does not mean the end of traditional consoles as streaming services still have some hurdles to climb over. The console-less streaming future still seems pretty far off.