Tuesday March 28, 2017

Would You Consider a Disc-Free Console?

Microsoft has finally admitted that its plan for letting game publishers limit the resale of used, disc-based games on the Xbox One was a terrible idea. At some point, Microsoft even thought about making the console disc-free, for some pretty obvious reasons. Going disc-free would invite a number of cons, such as increased publisher control and requirement for fast Internet, but some are wondering whether it could be a good idea for companies to release digital-only versions of their consoles.

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With one less bulky moving part contributing to production costs (not to mention reliability issues/support costs), the disc-free versions of these consoles could probably sell for considerably less than their disc-bound counterparts (a decent PC Blu-Ray drive currently costs around $50 or more, for some context). Console makers might be willing to lower the hardware's selling price even further for the benefit of locking players into their online store, where sales don't go through a retail middleman (and where the royalty-free resale of used games, which some publishers compare to piracy, doesn't exist). The lower hardware-production costs could alternatively be folded into more built-in storage for the disc-free system, to store all of those big downloads.