Earlier today news of Microsoft dropping the disc drive in their next version of Xbox started spreading. The news first reported by UK publication—MCVUK—is intriguing. Microsoft backed HD DVD over Bluray (supported by Sony PlayStation) and the move in many ways bombed since Bluray won the format wars. The DVD drive in the Xbox 360 makes the console a complete living room TV accessory, and that is why Microsoft’s decision is interesting. In quote to MCVUK, the source says Microsoft is replacing the optical drive with games on solid state cards.
Here’s what I believe will happen:
- Bluray drive as an accessory for the Xbox, whenever announced, will support older Xbox consoles
- Games offered to be downloaded, a process like Steam (if this happens, the 4GB Xbox makes no sense, @keithdsouza agrees)
- An industry shift within the gaming industry from disc drives to memory cards (like the PlayStation Vita card, as @fishfacemcgee says on twitter, we might be going back to the “cartridge”era.)
The current Xbox supports both USB hard drives and pen drives, at the same time the system offers cloud based game state backup. I wrote recently that the post-PC PC is the TV and the Xbox is of prime importance to Microsoft in this consumer market shift. If Microsoft drops the optical drive, my 4GB console becomes obsolete since, well, it will be interesting to see game publishers offer games on disc drives and Microsoft’s newly supported solid-state cards. It’ll be fun to watch Microsoft in this space, the company has sold more Xbox devices than Apple TVs and has strong Xbox integration in Windows 8 and Windows Phone.