The Xbox One's Final Design Almost Didn't Have a Disc Drive

By Gerald Lynch on at

Microsoft's Xbox One began life as a controversially forward-thinking games console before the fury of the internet's gaming netizens turned the Redmond company into a gibbering, backtracking mess. And the extent of Microsoft's progressive ideas could have been far more adventurous, a new interview reveals.

Speaking to OXM, Microsoft Studios chief Phil Spencer has revealed that the company very nearly green lit an Xbox One design without a disc drive in favour of digital-only delivery methods -- a plan that was still being discussed as late as E3 2013, just months before release.

"Obviously, after the announcement and E3, there was some feedback about what people wanted to change," explained Spencer.

"There was a real discussion about whether we should have an optical disc drive in Xbox One or if we could get away with a purely disc-less console, but when you start looking at bandwidth and game size, it does create issues.

"So we decided -- which I think was the right decision -- to go with the Blu-ray drive and give the people an easy way to install a lot of content. From some of those original thoughts, you saw a lot of us really focusing on the digital ecosystem you see on other devices -- thinking of and building around that."

Digital-only gaming releases are still treated with some skepticism in some corners of the gaming community thanks to murky issues regarding ownership. When you consider the aggression Microsoft faced in relation to the Xbox One's initial 24-hour mandatory web connection and game sharing policies, the decision to go with a traditional, disc-based set up was likely a wise one, even if the future still inevitably lies with a Steam-like disc-less method. [OXM]