Friday, 9 March 2012

No disc drives in next Xbox

Whilst there is no concrete news about the next Xbox console (I refuse to call it the Xbox 720, that’s silly), the buzz this week suggests that Microsoft will be doing away with disc drives in their new machine. That’s according to MCV, who are saying that Microsoft has been telling its partners the news that they are going into the future sans-discs.

Personally, I’m not convinced that we will see download only consoles from the big three in the near future, as the UK’s Internet scene in some areas is only just more effective than a network of courier pigeons. This is set to improve over the next few years, but will people be happy sipping retail sized games through their potentially narrow Internet pipes?

Of course this is not a problem for some of the better developed net nations, but if it were to happen, it makes a significant push towards near constant online connectivity for gaming. I know you would only really need an Internet connection to download the games (unless they come stuffed with Big Brother DRM measures), but are enough people in a good enough position to maintain a decent net connection on their console? It will certainly upset heavy users that have a download cap or a low fair use policy with their ISP.

In all likelihood, Microsoft will still support some form of physical media for their next machine. There’s still a lot of money to be made from people who like boxes and special editions. The MCV report goes on to say that the console will have some form of interchangeable solid-state card storage, similar to that of an SD card. If this is the case then it will be interesting to see if Microsoft comes up with a new games format.

GAME will certainly be happy that they would still have something to stock on their shelves. Well, that is assuming they can still afford shelves in the future. I don’t think we are ready to push for a download only console just yet. OnLive is trying that experiment at the moment, and there is still a portion of gamers that can’t have the connection to support such a service. I’m certainly looking forward to E3 this year, where all eyes will be looking at Microsoft for a console reveal.

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