Could the Xbox One Lose Its Disc Drive and Go All Digital Ahead of E3 2019?

Discussion in 'Console & PC Gaming' started by GTPNewsWire, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. GTPNewsWire

    GTPNewsWire Contributing Writer

    Messages:
    8,960
    Location:
    United States
  2. Slapped

    Slapped Premium

    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Switzerland
    From my point of view I see no reason to have an optical disc reader in consoles anymore for a couple of reasons:-

    1. Games are simply getting too big to fit on current gen optical media, and it's unlikely there'll be a consumer next gen optical format due to the fact that content distribution over the internet is easier and cheaper than managing physical stock inventory.
    2. I suspect a lot of people are like me in that I replaced disk copies with digital copies so I didn't have to bother with looking for a disk every time I wanted to play something.
    The problem that a 1TB HD is not really enough these is resolved when you can use external storage - up to 8TB, I believe, in the PS4's case. Also if the next gen consoles use USB 3.2 for attached storage, which can deliver up to 20Gb/s, then there'll be no reason to have an internal HD other than a "get you started" solution.

    To be honest I see future as being where the game would be loaded into memory direct from the internet with no local storage needed on the console - although we're not there yet from a technical aspect. I honestly don't see streaming as a viable method currently due to latency concerns.

    As much as some of us may love physical media we have to face up to the fact that it's rapidly becoming obsolete due its costs and limitations.
     
    davidt33 and hrusa2 like this.
  3. Naveek Darkroom

    Naveek Darkroom

    Messages:
    5,372
    Location:
    Canada
    While I can understand why some people still like owning games on physical media the movement to all digital makes sense. It's far easier to download a game than to go to the store and buy a physical disc. Besides, physical discs can't really hold enough compared to how huge modern games have gotten.
     
    davidt33 and hrusa2 like this.
  4. Robin

    Robin Premium

    Messages:
    16,415
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    I always wonder when console manufacturers propose this whether the world is quite ready for it or not.

    The UMD drive-less PSP Go flopped but that was about 7 years ago. Maybe now the infrastructure and mindset has changed more, particularly among younger gamers. Also as has been said, game patches and updates are huge so in essence you end up downloading most of the game anyway.

    I'm still old school, I will always choose physical media over digital (apart from maybe music) because I want to be able to see the collection and have something to hold.
     
    Skython, StealthVel and Jezza819 like this.
  5. VBR

    VBR Premium

    Messages:
    6,812
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Maybe they're releasing this all digital platform on current gen tech to test the waters, so to speak, before taking a bigger chance on their next gen console. Makes sense...
     
  6. RichiPuppy

    RichiPuppy

    Messages:
    136
    The reality is I live 15 miles from a moderate sized city and my internet would take 5 to 6 days to download a game and that is well not using the internet for anything else. The future is not now unless you plan on deserting a large population of the consumer base.
     
  7. hrusa2

    hrusa2

    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    I had PSP go and I liked it a lot. I remember playing GT PSP with DS3 :-) The reason why it flopped was, that not all PSP games were available on PS store...
     
  8. hrusa2

    hrusa2

    Messages:
    37
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    That is a problem... Not much in Europe but mainly in US where internet sucks outside cities :-) But I think it is great to have a choice. I have never used a disc drive in my PS4pro so I paid for something I will never use.
     
  9. Naveek Darkroom

    Naveek Darkroom

    Messages:
    5,372
    Location:
    Canada
    Maybe the PSP Go was too ahead of its time. Maybe the infrastructure was not as good back then. Maybe you're right about the mindset changing. I can still see the appeal of physical media but i like being able to just download the game straight into my brain. The size of games these days is quickly overtaking the limitations of current generation physical media anyway.

    The next gen Xbox is rumored to be offered in an all digital variant so this is definitely a trial run. Not just to see if the market is ready but to get the infrastructure and tech ready.
     
  10. FT-1

    FT-1 Premium

    Messages:
    6,477
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    The majority of gamers are ready to go disc-less next generation, but cases like @RichiPuppy's means it is not feasible for everyone yet. I think the best solution would be to launch next-gen consoles without a disc drive to keep costs down but have an external disc drive sold as an official peripheral by Sony and Microsoft themselves.
     
    huiop2 likes this.
  11. fatkid

    fatkid

    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Digital only consoles are the inevitable future, but I still don't think we are ready for them yet, because of the aforementioned lack off decent internet connection for some potential buyers. Also, MS are the last company I would trust to adopt this policy, especially in light of the draconian policies they originally wanted to place on the XBOX 1 before it's release. They are just dressing it up in new clothes in my mind. Will we be able to share games, do we need constant internet connection or a 1 time log in? And if so, how long will MS support the consoles before they become a paperweight? In that respect it is going backwards not forwards. And say goodbye to second hand games or even possible discounts online and maybe price fixes. I have got very good internet and can buy a good external hard drive if storage space becomes an issue. No thanks MS. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and see what they actually announce about the details first before I make a definate decision.
     
    Master Weasel and Wolfe like this.
  12. doblocruiser

    doblocruiser

    Messages:
    5,399
    Location:
    France
    It's a problem in Europe as well!
     
    Nexus, Robin and Wolfe like this.
  13. Jawehawk

    Jawehawk Premium

    Messages:
    4,572
    Location:
    Denmark
    Going all digital is one step further away from basic consumer rights. You'll no longer own your games, and are essentially renting products that will expire once they've been taken off the servers.

    Some people like digital. That's fine. But there aren't any reasons for why physical media shouldn't remain an option.
     
  14. Slapped

    Slapped Premium

    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Which is also the case with a lot of current games - Servers get switched off and the games won't even run even though you've got them stored locally.
     
  15. Jawehawk

    Jawehawk Premium

    Messages:
    4,572
    Location:
    Denmark
    Few single player games on consoles require Internet. Obviously, online heavy games depend on their servers, but my physical singleplayer games will last until the disc wears out and then I can always try to find a new copy. Point is that I'm not relying on the good will of a company.
     
    Chin and fatkid like this.
  16. Daz555

    Daz555

    Messages:
    601
    They can certainly have the option for a disc-free Xbox but it should not be the only option as there are still many many players globally who do not have the internet connection to make huge downloads viable.
     
    Nexus and FPV MIC like this.
  17. Corsa

    Corsa Premium

    Messages:
    1,768
    I've been on PC for awhile, would like to add a console at some point.
    Do any consoles support 2560x1080?
     
  18. Crazy Taylor

    Crazy Taylor

    Messages:
    3,108
    Location:
    England
    With sales like this PS sale this week (I know it's not on Xbox), it makes some sense to start veering towards a digital only console. When sales are on (typically change evert week). Games are relatively dirt cheap.
     
  19. Wolfe

    Wolfe Premium

    Messages:
    12,417
    Location:
    United States
    Perhaps the time for optical media is about over...but physical carts are so popular on the Switch that indie developers are finding enough support to fund and launch physical copies of their games. On a format more expensive than optical.

    I don't think physical is dead, but I think the paradigm the x86 consoles established of installing games and reading them from the HDD and downloading massive updates that fix the unpolished game you've got on your disc have definitely made it more difficult to justify sticking with discs. It's still better than downloading the whole thing, but if it's all going to sit on the hard drive anyway and the game will be crappy if you have to reinstall it after the update servers have been shut down...it feels kind of pointless.

    Yet on the Switch, physical is a no-brainer. It leaves room for more games and updates/DLC, and there are relatively few (and largely inconsequential) updates for the games I play. The carts also aren't as easy to damage.
     
    VBR likes this.
  20. SPhilli911

    SPhilli911

    Messages:
    2,637
    Location:
    United States
    I'd be okay with no discs, since I already only download digital games as is, but the problem will eventually be storage space. I like to keep all my games downloaded, so I have external drives. But I've already filled up a 2TB on my PS4 and 2.5TB on my Xbox One. Games are also getting bigger in size!
     
  21. RichiPuppy

    RichiPuppy

    Messages:
    136
    Yeap, I agree, having choice is a good thing. I would not want to buy an extra peripheral like others mentioned unless it actually intstalled in the console the way it is incorporated now. I am sure this will be the future some day, with 5g sounding like it could fill the gap when properly implemented. But this is not ready for mainstream just yet and could be a bad move if pushed too early.
     
  22. ClydeYellow

    ClydeYellow

    Messages:
    2,411
    What's the cost of NAND memory these days? 8 cents per GB? Next gen could easily ditch optical disk drives, replace them with copy-protected USB flash drives, switch to digital as the primary means of delivery, and tank the small drop in profit margins for the portion of the customer base that's sticking to physical.

    The advantage is obvious: losing the BRD drive means a cheaper console, and/or more internal space (for the same form factor) that can be put to better use (and with the next gen of consoles likely launching on the cusp of a raytracing revolution, and with the need to support 4K natively, that space will be needed).
     
    Imari and Robin like this.
  23. Turbotwin01

    Turbotwin01

    Messages:
    597
    Location:
    Canada
    Then the problem lies in lots of games have day one updates almost as big as the game itself at times. So you buy a game hoping to play that day and end up installing updates :banghead:
     
  24. RichiPuppy

    RichiPuppy

    Messages:
    136
    Day one updates are no fun is right. Thinking about this they could probably go without a disc drive and sell games on usb drives to fill the gap. It would probably cost a premium is the only disadvantage. It is too bad the industry didn’t sell digital games at a discount instead of retail to begin with, than the price difference would already be standard.
     
  25. fatkid

    fatkid

    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    Yes sales exist on PSN and Xbox live, but they are still more expensive than the physical copies on the second hand market. And the sales only last sometimes for a month, whereas on the second hand market the games get cheaper over more time. Once the second hand market is done away with because of digital only, nothing is stopping companies like Microsoft or Sony from ceasing being so generous with their sales. Getting the best deals, picking up obscure games, or games that aren't available digitally is only by the way of physical copies. The pros of physical copies far out weigh those of digital downloads. Some people don't realise what they will be losing until it is gone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
    Skython, Chin, huiop2 and 6 others like this.
  26. Robin

    Robin Premium

    Messages:
    16,415
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    If physical media is to continue long term maybe it is a good idea that the medium they use is not optical storage but flash storage. They should take Nintendo's lead and make the games come on SD sized cards. The speed a which flash storage prices keep coming down I could see 128-256GB game cards being relatively viable. Currently UHD disks can hold 100GB and there is a theoretical maximum (currently) of 200GB.

    The benefits would be considerable as you touched on. No need for a bulky optical drive in the console which means it could be slimmer and quieter and cheaper to produce plus you wouldn't get many of the well known pitfalls of optical media. It just comes down to how much it's going to add to the game price.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
    Imari, DK and Wolfe like this.
  27. Crazy Taylor

    Crazy Taylor

    Messages:
    3,108
    Location:
    England
    Can't say I'm losing much. Last disc I bought was GT Sport in 2017
     
  28. fatkid

    fatkid

    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    That's fine. But then you aren't really spending much on games to be making much of a saving then, are you? With only having purchased one title in over a year. But some of us like saving money, sifting through a back catalogue of games to suprisingly find a long forgotten game that doesn't exist on a digital store, sharing with our friends and the possibility of years down the line being able to replay these games. And extra storage for installs are cheap, as a 1TB external drive to do the job costs peanuts. And even if you didn't need an internet connection to access a console without a disc, years after it stopped getting officially supported by the manufacturer, if the hard drive in the console gets corruptted then you lose the games permanently anway. So someone please tell me why a console without a disc drive is more beneficial, apart from freeing up a little space? I absolutely don't see it?! This is going to become the console designs equivalent of whether smartphones should keep a 3.5mm headphone jack or not. And the top of the range, new Galaxy S10, shows that options are always a good thing.

    Saving money by getting a better deal and entirely owning a product which I can reuse anytime in the future, lend to people, or borrow from them to try for free, or to help me consider whether to buy myself will always win out over saving a few inches of space on my desk.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  29. BadFlounder

    BadFlounder

    Messages:
    169
    Location:
    United States
    Why are people so paranoid about this? It is just another option, people. It's for those that prefer all digital. I haven't bought a game disc this entire PS4 generation. I've never used the blu-ray drive a single time. lol I might be interested in this Xbox if it were the X variant.

    Also, this article is a bit misleading regarding the storage concerns. All games this generation fully install to the hard drive on both Xbox One and PS4; including all disc based games. They do not stream from the optical drive as they did in the 360/PS3 generation. Going digital simply means you are purchasing/downloading/installing the games from the online store versus installing them from discs. From a storage standpoint there is no difference. I can understand why some would still prefer discs. It's faster to reinstall your game via the disc instead of re-downloading. Then again, every game seemingly requires tons of GB of patches so the downloading is almost inevitable these days. :boggled:

    I'd argue the benefits of digital outweigh physical. Not having to worry about storing physical media. Being able to instantly load any of my games without having to change discs. Those are just two areas that make digital the preferred method for me. Cost isn't a concern for me. I understand completely that you, or others, might prefer physical media. My point is this is all in the eye of the beholder. I switched to digital late in the PS3 generation and haven't purchased a single disc for my PS4 (out of hundreds of games). That's my preference, but I think it is good that we have both options. As for the Xbox, I would bet that Microsoft will still sell both options so I don't see a lot to worry about here. I don't see any downside to having another option for those that prefer going all digital.

    You spent a lot of time criticizing the "all digital" set up, then went against your argument with the last line. You were exactly right. Options are a good thing. That's all this is. Being all digital is more beneficial for my gaming circumstances, but that doesn't mean it is for yours. Having both options is great. I mean, how is it not? Microsoft are still making/selling the optical drive having consoles too. I just don't get why people hate on this.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  30. Crazy Taylor

    Crazy Taylor

    Messages:
    3,108
    Location:
    England
    I would say I am saving money on digital games as I do gameshare a lot of games with my brother. Buying 2 games for the price of 1, it's even better as we have a similar taste in games. He buys games I use and so on. It is each to their own on physical digital argument.