Microsoft is said to be planning to introduce a new Xbox console as early as next spring, which is likely to be marketed as an even cheaper alternative to the Xbox One S. According to current information, the console will be completely without a drive and will rely entirely on digital content. But then what actually happens to the existing discs?
Game Exchange: From disc to digital, but how??
With the more favorable Einstiegspeis Microsoft wants to develop further target groups with the Xbox One. Those who already have Xbox games as a disc at home, however, do not have to throw them away and purchase new ones. Instead, these should be able to be converted into a digital version for the new Xbox One without the need for a drive.
This program is currently called Game Exchange by Microsoft internally. Game Exchange to allow disc editions of Xbox One games to be converted to a digital version tied to the buyer’s Microsoft account. Which types of conversion Microsoft wants to implement exactly, we currently don’t know yet.
> Offer: Xbox One S + Forza Horizon 4 for 199.99 euros
Technically already possible now due to a lucky twist
How the technology behind Game Exchange will work, however, is very well known. In fact, the functionality results rather accidentally and, in fact, it was not intended that way from the beginning. When Microsoft unveiled the first Xbox One at E3 2013, they wanted to provide several online features, including sharing digital games with friends and family. We also wanted to free Xbox players from the discs and allow them to play games without inserting the CD for a certain period of time. For this the console had to be online every few hours and you can surely remember how the community reacted to this news.
Microsoft had to expand these online features and that was before the console had even come to market. A few remnants remained, however: to ensure that two players didn’t use the disc-less-play feature with the same CD at the same time, each physical Xbox game had a unique identification number. This is useless today, as the feature was never implemented after all. Nevertheless, all Xbox discs sold up to this day have such a unique code.
And so now we come to the exciting part: Microsoft can use this invisible code in every Xbox CD to convert a disc game into a digital version and tie it to the user’s Microsoft account. Once a disc has been used for transfer, it can be used as a decoration or thrown away. You can’t play games with it anymore, because as soon as an Xbox console reads the disc and recognizes that it has already been "digitized", it’s useless. Finally, the player has now transferred his game to the account.
Exchange service via Xbox One app
What types to digital Microsoft will offer, we do not know. Will one have to send in the discs? Will retailers offer a digitization service or will you even need a new drive? We simply don’t know. But the latter is unrealistic – just to calm down.
The easiest solution imaginable would be to simply offer a Game Exchange app for the Xbox One. And I think that’s exactly what will happen. If you already have Xbox One games, then you usually also have the corresponding console. Accordingly, you could still digitize the various discs on the old console before exchanging it for the newer and probably smaller model without a drive.
Cheaper than the Xbox One S: Is that even possible??
The next Microsoft console is expected to be based on the Xbox One S, so it won’t use any new technology. By Microsoft in principle the parts recycled, which one already has from the production of the Xbox One S, the prices for the production will at least not be higher. Especially if Microsoft can also remove the expensive 4K BluRay drive from the console.
The Xbox One S was able to get extreme low prices of up to 150 Euros for the 1TB variant, especially in the pre-Christmas season incl. Games reach and the retail price of a new Xbox console will most likely not be able to undercut these offerings at launch. By not installing a drive, Microsoft not only saves on manufacturing costs, but can expect increased revenue from the sale of digital content like games, movies and subscriptions in the future. This is also likely to play an important role in subsidizing the devices, which could further drive down the entry price of an Xbox console. Lucrative trade-in bonuses are also conceivable, as Microsoft naturally profits greatly when users rely a bit more on the store for games, movies and series.
The information around Game Exchange is reliable, but a realization depends mainly on the availability of a corresponding console without a drive. According to current reports, the Xbox without a drive will be on the market as early as spring 2019. Only in 2020 there will be the next Xbox generation with the codename Scarlett.