Next year, Microsoft will reportedly go where no major console maker has gone before with a disc-free Xbox One console.
Brad Sams, a well-connected Microsoft reporter, claims that the console will only support game downloads, and that Microsoft will offer a “disc to digital” program that lets users trade in their physical games for downloadable copies. The goal is to release an Xbox One for $200 or less, and dropping the disc drive will help Microsoft get there.
Microsoft had considered making the Xbox One discless all along, and Sony reportedly planned to do the same for its PlayStation 4. Both companies decided against it due to concerns over the connection speeds required to download large games. (They also may have wanted to avoid upsetting game retailers like GameStop and Best Buy.) A Nielsen survey from earlier this year found that 66% of console players still prefer physical media.
Microsoft isn’t dropping game discs entirely: Sams notes that the company also plans to launcher a cheaper Xbox One S in 2019 with a disc drive–but a disc-free version might be a way for Microsoft to test the download-only market as it develops a next-generation Xbox for 2020.