Xbox "Next" console is destined to be disc-free, as evidence mounts

Microsoft will reportedly ditch physical games entirely

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller and games
(Image credit: Anthony / Unsplash)

There has been a lot of talk about the next Microsoft console recently, with suggestions that the company will skip an Xbox Series X Pro and go straight to Xbox "Next" (or so it is affectionately being called for now).

It now seems that there could be a major rethink on how that new console will operate, too. There are suggestions that Microsoft could not only produce its next machine without a disc drive, it could ditch physical game releases entirely.

While discussing the recent, devastating job losses at Xbox and Activision Blizzard, Windows Central reporter Jez Corden posted on X (via Comicbook.com) that among the departments shut down are those dedicated to releasing games on physical formats.

"Microsoft has also shut down departments dedicated to bringing Xbox games to physical retail," he wrote "Which if you've seen the digital-only Xbox console leaks... well, you can get an idea of where Microsoft is going here."

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He refers to the round Xbox Series X "Brooklyn" model that leaked last September as part of its Activision acquisition court battles. Confirmed by Xbox boss Phil Spencer as genuine at the time, it showed a version of the console without a disc slot.

Spencer since revealed that the products in the leak were part of early internal plans and may never come to fruition, but there's further evidence to suggest we're heading for a disc-less future.

Walmart in the US is ditching Xbox games from its shelves, it is said, while Game in the UK has recently announced that it is scrapping its age-old trade-in service.

Many fans of physical game media often claim that it's the ability to resell or trade-in disc copies that continues to make them better options. But with that capability shrinking or disappearing entirely, there could be a smaller market for physical releases.

Add the fact that Xbox has effectively lost this round of the console war to its biggest rival, with the PlayStation 5 thought to have sold at least double the amount of units, and you can see why the company is at least considering a switch to cloud and digital game downloads only. For good or bad.

Rik Henderson
News Editor

Rik is T3’s news editor, which means he looks after the news team and the up-to-the-minute coverage of all the hottest gadgets and products you’ll definitely want to read about. And, with more than 35 years of experience in tech and entertainment journalism, including editing and writing for numerous websites, magazines, and newspapers, he’s always got an eye on the next big thing.

Rik also has extensive knowledge of AV, TV streaming and smart home kit, plus just about everything to do with games since the late 80s. Prior to T3, he spent 13 years at Pocket-lint heading up its news team, and was a TV producer and presenter on such shows as Channel 4's GamesMaster, plus Sky's Games World, Game Over, and Virtual World of Sport.