No Optical Media For Next Xbox

I still refuse to call it the Xbox 720, despite all encouragement to the opposite. Until it’s officially named, I’m sticking to my NextBox label.

Anyway, there’s been some big news land under a nice juicy “EXCLUSIVE” headline over on MCV.

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[drop2]According to their sources, which are not named or directly quoted, Microsoft’s next hardware release in the Xbox family won’t have a disc drive.

Apparently, Microsoft has signed up some of its most trusted developers to a super-strict non disclosure agreement (obviously not strict enough…) but the information has been issued in briefings.

MCV says that although there won’t be an optical media drive, there will be some allowance for flash storage so there is still potential that games could be sold on some kind of memory card as well as solely by download.

As pointed out by the trade magazine’s esteemed editor, Ben Parfitt, this will be a bit of a blow to beleaguered high street retailers. Although GAME Group reports an increase in profit from pre-paid cards, the abolition of disc-based software is likely to have serious consequences at retail.

Of course, they might be going back to cartridges. We can’t wait to blow into the bottom of Elder Scrolls VI in an effort to fix our glitching sidequests.

Perhaps more interesting is the news that a 2013 release date for the new console has been “confirmed” by MCV’s sources. That gives further credence to the chances of an E3 2012 announcement, although no reveal schedule has been discussed.

Source: MCV

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74 Comments

  1. I can see publishers going for this – it effectively kills the 2nd hand market.

    • Agreed, but the danger of gearing a console around whats good for the publishers and platform holder rather than the consumer is that the consumers may well choose to pass on it.

  2. Wouldn’t it need a HUGE hdd?! Unless they only aim for customers to own 10 games.

    • that’s another issue, if all your media for that machine is going to have to be downloaded, it’s gonna fill up even a big hard drive pretty quickly.

      or is it gonna come with like a 2 terabyte drive?

  3. Be a huge mistake to lose the optical drive. I love only having to have 1 machine under my telly to play games and movies.

    Makes you wonder if it’s MS hitting a size limit with DVD discs. Haven’t they already started having to sell games over multiple discs? On the assumption they’ll never sign up for Blu-ray compatibility I don’t suppose they have very much choice left. There’s no way they could flog 25-30GB proprietry memory cards and remain competitively priced with optical media.

  4. I’d be surprised if they completely killed physical, but going over to SD Cards or some other type of Flash memory? Sure, why wouldn’t they? Better read times, better storage density, smaller, lighter. Might be more expensive, but I’m sure if they’re buying in sufficient bulk they can work around it.

    I vaguely recall a rumour about two versions of the NextBox, one without a disk drive. That makes sense to me, have one with it for DVDs and backwards compatibility and one without for everyone else who’s quite happy to download, buy on cards and use apps like Netflix. If I were in Microsoft’s position I’d be saying to developers that it doesn’t have a disk drive, as only one model would.

    I’d also point out that these views were formed after chatting to Gazzagb on the Twitters.

    • it was a mistake making the hard drive optional on the 360, as far as i’m concerned.
      i think making a physical drive optional would be an even bigger mistake.

      • Why? Making the hard drive optional was a big problem as games needed it for caching etc… I don’t see the same issues with an optical drive. Yes, there’s the backwards compatible stuff, but aside from that I don’t see it causing a problem. It wouldn’t fragment the market in the same way if MS move over to another physical drive, rather than optical.

  5. no hard copy, no sale as far as i’m concerned.

  6. If the 720(Bob, nextbox, we’veranoutofnamesforthisbox) doesn’t support physical media then i won’t touch it as i prefer to be able to touch and look at my collection instead of booting up the console, going through the list of games.

    Plus, it would be a bit of a slap in the face for those who want to play their 360 games on it. And what about those without net access?

    • if you want to play your 360 games, well, you’d just have to buy them again.

      so not only do they not want us to own the games we buy, they want us to buy them again, and not own them.

      gaming eh?
      it’s wonderful. >_<

  7. @Zephyre Microsoft wouldn’t need to licence Blu-ray from the BD licencing Group of companies… They could just run the tech unlicensed like Nintendo did with DVD & are going to do with Blu-ray in the WiiU

    @Everyone
    Wouldn’t get too taken in by 30, 40 or even 50GB filesizes, they’re only there because a) uncompressed sound eats GBs b) PS3 BD-drive is no use for streaming textures from the disc so textures have to be endlessly repeated all over it to reduce seek times or the game is installed. Without Blu-ray, eg. Going digital only games will easily be 3-7GB add some extra for better quality textures in the next gen and games will pro be 6-16gb but don’t forget games that weigh in at way less than a gig or more popular than ever, the average file size of a game can easily keep coming down even if the top end does rise & anyway further info suggests you’ll be able to buy these on card anyway.

    • What about all the mult-disc games we’ve already had this generation, plus I remember stories about several developers complaining about the lack of storage space available on dvd and having to cut content from their games.

      If I remember right games like Lost Odyssey shipped on 3-4 discs – thats currently someones monthly download cap gone with a single download.

      • It’s true, some 360 games are already on multiple DVDs.
        Surely if they could compress them more they would have done it to save on DVD costs?

    • Wasn’t so much the licencing thing, it’s more the loss of face I was thinking of.

    • The highest dominator is the only one that matters. Games will easily be 15GB+ next gen (just look at standard PC release now).

      • Wonder what the highest common denominator will be in future as the biz model for high tier games hasn’t worked for years outside of a couple of franchises. Perhaps Apple will become the standard and the few super games that are left which do take around 15GB will come on whatever the card is that is mentioned on gi.biz and EG

      • Fact is I have seen so many Pirated releases that once were originally 12GB down to 2 or 3GB then unpacked to the original or even a a bit lower. If they can do that then so can Microsoft with their practically endless resources.

  8. I’m not throwing out my DVDs and blu rays so I’ll still need something to play them on. I already have a 1TB drive full of video. My 500GB drive in my PS3 is full of games with little space left and I have over 100 on disc. No drive in a console simply isn’t an option without having extra devices under my TV.

  9. Personally. I love downloading 6Gb games in the time it takes to get a bus to town, buy the game and get back home. /sarcasm

    Also. Won’t be long before we can get MSP as well top ups from cash machines.

  10. So they are removing the optical media so that they can sell a seperate disc drive add on then?

    Smooth.

    • Im looking forward to how they spin this as being good for consumers at E3.

      “You are the person with a shelfload of useless 360 discs”

      • A trade-in program like Sony did for UMDs?

        PS3 does ok despite 150m households having piles of PS2 discs, doesn’t it?

      • the taking out of PS2 compatibility was a big mistake – people still complain about it now (myself included).

        I’m not sure two wrongs make a right though, as a consumer I’m concerned about features not publishers/platform holders protecting their bottom-line.

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