Much like movies and music, the way people consume games is changing. Online gaming and game downloads are becoming increasingly popular, and a shift towards cloud gaming is underway. In other words, the need to a physical game disc is waning. Microsoft is seemingly taking notice of changing trends and is working on an Xbox One without a disc drive.
In fact, the landscape has already changed enough that gaming through a disc is more of a chore than a convenience. Games still have to be installed and patches downloaded down the line, the ease of just inserting a disc and insta-gaming has gone.
So, the obvious question is, why use a disc at all? It's a good question and the answer is likely to be we won't use them in the very near future. A new report suggests Microsoft will lead the way with a disc-less Xbox One. That console will apparently be launched in 2019.
Interestingly, this will not be Microsoft's next-generation Xbox. Instead, it will be a genuine variant of the Xbox One. We guess if the console is a success the disc-less model will continue on 2020's new Xbox console.
There are some problems with the mooted approach. Firstly, could this be a “convenient” way for Microsoft to tie people into Xbox Live. With a disc-less Xbox, they will need to download all games digitally and will likely need a Microsoft Account.
Secondly, some gamers don't want to be online when gaming. Yes, there is still a market for games that don't need the internet. Take the recently launched Red Dead Redemption 2, the second largest entertainment launch of all time. The single player experience is not reliant on online connectivity.
Of course, Microsoft will still have an Xbox One with disc support for gamers who don't want to be online.