The rumored console was finally confirmed. The rumors proved to be true in almost every sense. The release date suggested by stories around the internet and even the leaked pictures matched to perfection. Microsoft announced its new Xbox One S model. No optical drive this time. It is a bold statement and a first solid step in what Microsoft has been anticipating as their strategy for the next generation. Digital content and cloud gaming are what Xbox is trying to represent. But, is the Xbox One S All-Digital doomed to fail?
Is it a fair trade-off?
Digital games have their perks, but also a downside. There are plenty of benefits like how easy it is to have all your collection in one drive, without the risk of losing or damaging a disk. Pre-loading your games before launch date if you have pre-ordered them is excellent. Still, there’s a lot of legalities of who is the owner of the content. Sure, you are paid for the game, but whoever developed the game, and the company that manages the store (Microsoft, Sony, etc.) can remove the game from the store at any time for any reason.
Just like what happened with the PT demo, the same can apply to other titles. So, in theory, nothing assures you for how long you’re going to be able to download any game in case it is necessary. This might not be a problem for most gamers. But, some players are fond of collecting their games, and they even build backlogs and continue playing games from older generations. This is something that’s not granted for digital content. Yes, these are very isolated incidents, but the possibility is there.
Game Pass and Xbox Live, All-Digital’s best friend
Microsoft is not just launching this Xbox One S All-Digital model out there in the wild. They made sure there are a reason and a real benefit, software-wise, to get onboard the Xbox ecosystem. Game Pass and Xbox Live are now confirmed as a monthly bundled subscription. We have covered the great value that Game Pass is nowadays and how it continues to evolve to get even better.
These services are a great incentive to try out an Xbox, and if you want a cheap way in, the new Xbox One S model should do it for you. All these games are digital, and you really don’t need an optical drive to fully enjoy the service. The 1TB HDD is more critical if we are talking about Game Pass or Games with Gold. With these digital-based services and xCloud announcements around the corner, an all-digital device at a cheaper price point is a good investment. The console is built for 4K, HDR output and spatial audio in mind. You have everything you need for a great experience if xCloud manages Stadia’s technical promises.
Pricing… Here lies the dilemma
The pricing is not what we expected. The main reason to this is that at the moment there are ways to get a $250 new Xbox One S. The idea of sacrificing the disc drive, is to get into the platform at a lower entry price. Microsoft stated they plan to manage at least a $50 difference between their Xbox One S disc model and their All-Digital version. Although, at the moment the pre-order for the All-Digital release matches the price of some bundles of the disc-based Xbox One S.
This contradiction and price similarities are not going to help the Xbox One S All-Digital model. The announcement is still fresh, and we might see the console dropping to a lower price to match that difference in price Microsoft’s Major Nelson confirmed at the device’s launch stream.
Still a work in progress
The Xbox One S All-Digital edition is a work in progress and far from doomed. It is a significant step forward centered on the value of Microsoft’s digital services. It is a good option for those who don’t mind the limitations of digital content.
It is far from perfect, and it is undoubtedly a work in progress. The price point is not what most of us have waited for. But, there’s still time to see how Microsoft will deal with the price disparity between their current Xbox One S model and this new addition to the Xbox family.