Xbox Series X may get a digital-only version within months

Xbox Series X console next to TV
(Image credit: Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Last year, documents emerged as part of Microsoft’s battle with the FTC revealing that the company was planning an “adorably all-digital” Xbox Series X console for 2024

At the time, Xbox head Phil Spencer obliquely responded to the leak on social media, calling the documents “old” and noting that “much has changed”. If a new report from the leaker eXtas1s is to be believed, that seems to be the case, with Microsoft plotting a far less ambitious refresh for its flagship console.

Writing for Exputer, eXtas1s’ report — based on “confidential footage” of the console — makes the new console sound like the Microsoft equivalent of the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition: near-identical hardware without the disk drive for a (presumably) cheaper MSRP. 

Crucially this means buyers will have a new-found reliance on digital media. Though that could be less of a deal breaker in the Xbox ecosystem, given the all-you-can-play Game Pass service gives access to the console’s top games for the cost of a monthly subscription.

Gone is the promised new-look cylindrical design, with the leaker suggesting that the all-digital Xbox Series X will simply get a color swap from black to white. This mirrors what Microsoft did with the larger capacity Series S, which switched from white to black when it emerged last June. 

The design as originally leaked by Microsoft.

The design as originally leaked by Microsoft. (Image credit: Microsoft)

As well as the new design, last year’s leak mentioned a front-facing USB-C slot, improved wi-fi, lower power draw and a refreshed controller — but none of these things appear in eXtas1s’ copy. 

Instead, all we’re promised is “an improved heatsink and upgraded Nexus card”. While the former might make the console run quieter, it’s less obvious what the latter means. Given eXtas1s is Spanish, it might be a translation slip for “Nexus board” — the circuit board with the power functions and LED lighting on. This would be helpful given it can be damaged in its current form, but it’s hardly what you’d call a significant upgrade.

eXtas1s speculates that the lack of a disk drive could see the price drop by $50 to $100, potentially seeing the console sell for just $399.99. Much of this depends on how much internal storage is included, of course — the original Microsoft leak promised an upgrade to 2TB which feels important for a console without a disk drive, but there’s no mention of capacity in the Exputer piece.

If the report is correct, we should find out soon enough, with the leaker predicting a launch in June or July. Though there could be a “slight delay on that front as well,” the leaker adds.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.