Microsoft is reportedly working on an Xbox Series X that comes without a disc drive and therefore could be offered at a discounted price.
That’s according to somewhat reputable industry insider Shpeshal Nick, who on the Xbox Era podcast stated that he’d heard from a couple of sources that such an Xbox Series X is being explored: “Microsoft is currently looking into a Digital-only Series X – so no disc drive.”
Such a rumor is both surprising and unsurprising. It’s mainly the latter though, seeing as the PS5 has a Digital Edition that offers the powerful console with no Blu-ray drive, allowing Sony to pass on a $100 discount to customers. Viewed from this strategy, it wouldn't be the worst idea for Microsoft to follow suit with the Series X.
However, this rumor is worthy of an eyebrow raise, as Microsoft already has the Xbox Series S that’s the cheaper option to the Series X. At $299, it undercuts its bigger sibling by a decent margin, but also comes with a good deal less power. Nevertheless, the Series S has proven to be popular and would offer a compelling argument against the need for a disc-drive-less Series X.
Still, at $499 the Xbox Series X is hardly cheap, so the idea that you could get a cheaper version at the cost of a disc drive does have some appeal. I've barely used the disc drive on my Series S, relying pretty much solely on downloaded games, so I’d not be against a version that’s cheaper.
There’s no word of a release date for a disc-less Xbox Series X. But if this rumor has any weight, I’d expect to see such a console sooner than later; if I had to guess, maybe towards the end of the year or early 2024.
Speaking of new hardware, Nick claimed Microsoft won’t be looking at other new Xbox hardware until 2025. Whether that means an upgraded Xbox or something entirely different has yet to be made clear. I suspect a mid-generation refresh could happen, but in many ways, and going by the best Xbox Series X games, there’s still plenty of potential left in the current Xbox hardware that can be tapped into.