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Customers with no Internet connection (or slow connections) would have been at a disadvantage

Microsoft reportedly considered ditching the Xbox One's disc drive for a completely disc-less console instead, but decided that this could create certain problems for gamers.
 
According to a new report from OXM, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer said that the company thought about making the Xbox One a purely disc-less console in mid-2013, but said bandwidth and game size could become potential issues. 
 
"Obviously, after the announcement and E3, there was some feedback about what people wanted to change," said Spencer. "There was a real discussion about whether we should have an optical disc drive in Xbox One or if we could get away with a purely disc-less console, but when you start looking at bandwidth and game size, it does create issues.
 
"So we decided - which I think was the right decision - to go with the Blu-ray drive and give the people an easy way to install a lot of content. From some of those original thoughts, you saw a lot of us really focusing on the digital ecosystem you see on other devices - thinking of and building around that."
 
The elimination of the disc drive would mean that customers would have to rely on an Internet connection to receive game content. Those without would obviously lose out, and for those with slow Internet connections, it could mean days before a game is fully downloaded. 

Aside from that, many customers have said that they'd miss being able to "own" games the way they do with physical versions, which allows them to trade and resell as they wish. This allows customers to avoid paying high prices of new games, and this is one thing Microsoft aimed to prevent with the new console. 

The Xbox One has received a lot of criticism for the restrictions it placed on gamers earlier last year, such as the used games ban and the new "always-on" digital rights management (DRM) system. Microsoft later retracted these features after major complaints.

Source: OXM



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By StevoLincolnite on 1/2/14, Rating: 0
RE: .
By exeedorbit on 1/2/2014 10:40:21 AM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry, but alienating the majority of your user base with eliminating the disc drive just sounds like a poor business decision, no matter how you look at it. Not enough people (even in the US) have access to internet fast enough to download these games at a reasonable pace. And that's not even taking into account ISPs that throttle your speed when you reach a certain amount of data transferred.

That's not even to mention countries that have limited/no access to affordable broadband.

Most of the advantages of a service like steam would be lost on a console.


RE: .
By hughlle on 1/2/2014 11:05:16 AM , Rating: 3
Not to mention they would have to re-do their entire marketing strategy. It's pretty hard to advertise something as an all in one media device when it is not compatible with one of the most prevalent and widely used and owned formats out there at this time. Dvd's, let alone blu-ray. That would hardly make it suitable as a media box.


RE: .
By amanojaku on 1/2/2014 11:07:41 AM , Rating: 3
I don't see why MS couldn't do both, making downloads the primary method of buying games, while offerinng the disc drive as an optional alternative. That way, developers can decide if a game is physical and/or downloadable, and gamers can decide on which model to buy. The disc-less model would be cheaper, enticing people who have broadband AND don't care about reselling games. Games on disk would function identically to games on disc.


RE: .
By ipay on 1/2/2014 11:30:20 AM , Rating: 2
Because doing both could hurt the amount of games stocked by retailers. To have a robust offering in brick and mortars, games need to be primarily offered as physical assets.

Consumers, whether they know it or not, are best served by having a physical game they "own"; no mistakes... "Here is my game."


RE: .
By retrospooty on 1/2/2014 11:45:47 AM , Rating: 2
"I don't see why MS couldn't do both, making downloads the primary method of buying games, while offerinng the disc drive as an optional alternative."

Isn't that basically what they did? The only thing would be which is "primary"... Who cares though. Get which one you prefer, not which one other people or MS prefers you to use.


RE: .
By bah12 on 1/2/2014 12:25:34 PM , Rating: 3
Yes it is, but more importantly the vast majority of games (especially multiplayer shooters like BF4/COD) likely have a multi GB update to download regardless. So the appease the "gotta have physical media folks", but the reality is you still download a large chunk just to play.

Let's face it the EA's of the world are perfectly happy releasing games that wouldn't pass Alpha testing at a real company let alone beta. Then they use us as testers to release the actual working game weeks later. Disc or no disc you are gonna be downloading a bunch of patches thanks to lazy ass production shops.


RE: .
By retrospooty on 1/2/2014 12:54:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, if you want to play online, but if you are disconnected, there is no ability to check for an update so it wont require it. The other good thing about physical media is that you can give it to someone else or sell it when you are done playing it.

I would like digital, but not for $59. With no ability to sell/give away a CD, they should really drop the price of digital downloads of AAA titles to make it more appealing.


RE: .
By bah12 on 1/2/2014 5:05:31 PM , Rating: 2
Heck I'll do $59 for digital, if the damn thing works even a little. But I'm disgusted with how the studios treat their user base. If I wasn't so damn addicted to the battlefield series I wouldn't give EA another dime after the fiasco of Sim City 5, and now BF4. How you don't have mass firings over such botched rollouts is beyond me. To call the day 1 products beta, would be kind.


RE: .
By retrospooty on 1/2/2014 6:31:59 PM , Rating: 2
" How you don't have mass firings over such botched rollouts is beyond me."

BEcasue its probably not the fault of anyone in development. It's most likely upper management saying "We know the game isnt ready, but its the holiday shopping season, and you are hereby ordered to get it as ready as possible for a November release or we miss out on millions of revenue" so its released that way.

I don't mind that at all. I would rather have a buggy game today that gets patched and added onto later than to just have nothing today and wait until later.


RE: .
By jeepga on 1/3/2014 10:29:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't mind that at all. I would rather have a buggy game today that gets patched and added onto later than to just have nothing today and wait until later.


I agree to a point. Where it falls down is that the "patched and added later" is done haphazardly without the quality control of a roll-out. Maintenance after the fact is purely expense, and the effort put into it is a reflection of that.


RE: .
By raphd on 1/2/2014 6:43:08 PM , Rating: 3
yeah but downloading a game on launch day is crazy. Maybe you can get around it before but then I find it silly to have even a launch date.

While I download i'd like to enjoy other services like netflix, last time I got a game of steam it was around 30 gigs and it was actually maxing my connection. I had to pause it since then my other stuff became choppy and just run it over night.

That aside, these games are 40gigs. Driving to the store and back and installing and maybe grabbing a 2gb update is a lot faster. I was up in bf4 on X1 in a hour with driving and picking it up (Took like 30mins to install off the discs). Also, download 40 gigs twice a month, or 3 times will just eat your bandwidth. We live in a world (at least I do) where it's cheaper to drive 20km than the cost per gig which is just silly. I don't need to add something as silly as game downloads to my calendar.


RE: .
By marvdmartian on 1/3/2014 7:32:39 AM , Rating: 2
Except, when was the last time you saw a purely digital anything cheaper? Take music, for example. You can buy the physical media (CD) for ~$15, or you can buy the songs for $1 each....and pay just about the same amount.

The article mentions how people with slow connections could take days to download games. That would ONLY be if either they had a flawless (never disconnects) connection, or if it included download resumption, where you wouldn't have to start over at the beginning if you disconnected.


RE: .
By nafhan on 1/2/2014 12:41:45 PM , Rating: 2
I think the main advantage of a disc drive is backwards compatibility with currently owned games. Since that was out the door from day one, a discless Xbox actually seems reasonable to me.
quote:
Most of the advantages of a service like steam would be lost on a console.
I would actually say most of the advantages of Steam are based on providing a more console like experience to PC users. I'm wondering... which advantages of Steam are lost to console users?


RE: .
By Motoman on 1/2/2014 1:38:42 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget that tens of millions of Americans don't have access to actual broadband either.

The other thing about being a totally download-only system is that it guarantees the greatest abuse of the consumer possible: Microsoft can just turn it off.

Let's pretend the XBone shipped without a disk drive, and was purely online. 3 years later, MS introduces the XBox Two. Is it in MS's best business interests to keep the XBone servers/content online...or is it in MS's best interests to turn the lights off on the XBone and force everyone to buy an XBox Two?

...and even if MS kept the lights on for the XBone after the XB2 came out...would they still keep them on when the XB3 came out?

Eventually, that service is going to get turned off. And then all the games and other content you paid for on the XBone just *vanish*. Poof. Gone.

As opposed to the real world, where you buy a game on a disk, and you can use it on that console until the disk and/or console physically dies. There's still several old consoles kicking around our place...and at many friends' places. Maybe you get nostalgic and bust out the Genesis for a bit. Or less nostalgic, but want to bring our your original XBox to play one of those old games.

If a console ever goes fully online, you can kiss everything goodbye. You'll have not the slightest amount of ownership rights on the games and other content you buy, and when the publisher decides it's time to force everyone to buy new stuff...it's just gone.

[cue the retards who will try to justify this in some catastrophically moronic way]


RE: .
By Monkey's Uncle on 1/2/2014 1:43:00 PM , Rating: 2
Here is one of those few times I fully agree with you.

I already don't consider buying consoles because they are too specialized for my taste. Make them DRM-riddled net appliances and I doubt even those of my friends and family that do play them would either stick with their old offline consoles or turn to PCs.


RE: .
By Breakfast Susej on 1/2/2014 3:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
So far only steam has been altruistic as far as letting you download all your games forever. I can still go download half life 2 that I bought 10 years ago and play it if I want.

I don't know about the others like Origin, Uplay, or GOG. But I do know back in the days when it was the EA downloader or whatever they called it, you had six months to download your purchase and after that, you were out of luck.

Unfortunately I have to say I would have no faith in Microsoft to do this in anything resembling a consumer friendly way like Steam. If GFWL is any indication, the most horrible and useless digital download service ever conceived, then I wouldn't expect anything better with Xbox.

They have a bad history as far as utterly abandoning their Xbox products when the new generation launches, and that looks to be following suit with the 360. People have been complaining it's been abandoned for 2 years now while the PS3 has pulled ahead and games like the last of us have come out.

It's really simple. If you want to do a digital download service, you have to compete with steam. Otherwise, forget it.


RE: .
By SPOOFE on 1/2/2014 4:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
eliminating the disc drive just sounds like a poor business decision, no matter how you look at it. Not enough people (even in the US) have access to internet fast enough to download these games at a reasonable pace.

Sounds like criticisms of Steam when it was first introduced.


RE: .
By Boze on 1/2/2014 1:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
What about people without constantly on Internet? The Xbox saw a lot of use on the USS Honolulu when I was stationed aboard.

There's a lot of other submariners who appreciate having console systems that don't require always-on connections.


RE: .
By Monkey's Uncle on 1/2/2014 1:38:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking those people would have bought Playstation 4s or simply didn't bother and kept their XBox 360s.


RE: .
By tayb on 1/2/14, Rating: 0
RE: .
By someguy123 on 1/2/2014 10:21:06 PM , Rating: 3
How exactly does an online centric system benefit the consumer at all? Fact is it doesn't. Instead it gives publishers/developers a feeling of "security" where they assume their games are not being pirated since their customers are shoved through a fine screen mesh of DRM before they can launch their game. It also allows microsoft to monetize greater amounts of demographic information. Basically the customer takes the risk of any outages while the publisher/microsoft reaps all the benefits. Publishers attempting risk aversion is not the fault of the consumer.

Steam is just an extra distribution platform. It didn't stop computer manufacturers from having disc drives. People had the choice of just ignoring it. You can also put up a game on steam DRM free; steamworks DRM is optional. Offline mode also stays active without requiring 24 hour checks, though I will say that the entirety of steam was absolute garbage stability and performance wise until about a year or two ago.


RE: .
By SPOOFE on 1/4/2014 2:30:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How exactly does an online centric system benefit the consumer at all?

Assuming you have the bandwidth, it allows for consumers to get what they want without having to leave home. Like Steam.

quote:
it gives publishers/developers a feeling of "security" where they assume their games are not being pirated since their customers are shoved through a fine screen mesh of DRM before they can launch their game.

How is this different than the "feeling of 'security'" of DRM already in existence in consoles? Or on Steam?

quote:
Steam is just an extra distribution platform.

A wildly popular and successful distribution platform, with far more choice than you'd ever find in a brick-and-mortar, despite its early days being filled with pretty much the exact same sort of criticism that the initial XBOne announcement met.

quote:
You can also put up a game on steam DRM free; steamworks DRM is optional.

There's no technical reason why this isn't an option for any digital distribution. Also, NOT available when Steam was initially released, when Steam was receiving pretty much the exact same sort of criticism that the initial XBOne announcement met.


RE: .
By someguy123 on 1/5/2014 1:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Assuming you have the bandwidth, it allows for consumers to get what they want without having to leave home. Like Steam.


This doesn't require online-only at all.

quote:
How is this different than the "feeling of 'security'" of DRM already in existence in consoles? Or on Steam?


That's a good point AGAINST online only. Are you really thinking this through?

quote:
despite its early days being filled with pretty much the exact same sort of criticism that the initial XBOne announcement met.


Steam never attempted to replace anything and never required constant online connection (multiplayer aside since that obviously requires a connection regardless of DRM).

quote:
also, NOT available when Steam was initially released,


What? One of the first games on steam was HL2 and you can still, to this day, launch it from the executable without steam on. I don't even like steam as a DRM scheme but I did download and use steam back when they took WON down for steam's server browser. It was a piece of crap then and now it's less crappy but that's mostly thanks to better servers and lack of crashing rather than more DRM.


News?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/2/2014 11:20:47 AM , Rating: 2
So I'm not seeing anything here we didn't already know and were discussing when MS announced their original plan for the Xbone

I don't understand why this is here...




RE: News?
By Gondor on 1/2/2014 1:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
The title might ust as well have said

"Xbox One nearly flunked because of almost going with all-digital gaming" ... While I don't intend to buy Xbox One and have little love for Microsoft and the dumb decisions they keep making in the recent years, I'm glad that somebody pulled the plug on this idea (and hopefully sacked the staff that came up with it), because the alternative would be PS4 monopoly and monopolies are no good for customers.


RE: News?
By Monkey's Uncle on 1/2/2014 1:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. This is pretty old news.

Frankly I am happy Microsoft got their butt kicked by its customers when it tried to dump this trash on us. Sony would have wound up with the console market all to themselves (I don't count Wiis) if they managed to get this out to the stores.


RE: News?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/2/2014 2:35:10 PM , Rating: 2
I think Microsoft is turning into it's former tech-ape self and needs to be knocked down a few pegs again for their own good. So in that respect, I kind of wished they had gone ahead with their original plans and horribly lost this round of the console wars.


RE: News?
By ClownPuncher on 1/2/2014 3:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
That would have benefitted nobody. You just want to watch the world burn.


RE: News?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/2/2014 4:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
Explain.

Giving Sony a marketshare advantage over just ONE round of console wars isn't some horrible thing. Not if it sends the entire industry a message of pro-consumer rights and anti-atrociousness DRM schemes.

You guys only choose to acknowledge one solitary aspect of competition in Capitalist markets. You speak as if every device or corporation had an exactly equal share of the market, that would be the most optimal for the consumer. That's just false.

If nobody fails and bad ideas aren't punished, good ideas aren't rewarded...well that is NOT competition!


RE: News?
By ClownPuncher on 1/2/2014 4:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
One round being 10 years...

I don't know what you're on about with the capitalism comments. Capitalism was what got MS to reverse most of their bad decisions in the first place.

MS was punished. It costs them money to scrap plans so late in the game.

You just wanted them to fail because you don't like Microsoft, not because it would have been good for the market. Sony could easily have bumped their MSRP to $600 had Microsoft completely failed.


RE: News?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/2/2014 5:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sony could easily have bumped their MSRP to $600 had Microsoft completely failed.


LMAO, yeah right! Okay anyway, moving on...

quote:
I don't know what you're on about with the capitalism comments.


Because others are bringing up competition. Uhhh hello?

quote:
You just wanted them to fail because you don't like Microsoft


Nonsense.


RE: News?
By ClownPuncher on 1/2/2014 5:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, they could have. This happens every GPU cycle. Nvidia drops a $1000 hot load on the face of consumers, a few months later, AMD releases a $500 load that performs better.

What your capitalism comments had to do with mine, I don't know. Capitalism is showing that the choices MS made will pay off.

It's not nonsense. You would have rather had MS fail to prove an ideological point than to have MS adapt and bring out a competitive product. If that's not bias, you don't bleed olive oil.


RE: News?
By Reclaimer77 on 1/2/2014 5:28:06 PM , Rating: 2
Uhhh your example is nothing like jacking up the cost of the PS4 $200 after the fact...

The rest, okay whatever, good trolling.


RE: News?
By cyberguyz on 1/5/2014 3:36:05 PM , Rating: 2
Clown has a point. Wallet raping is kinda what happens when there is no competition.

If you have 2 products with similar sets desired specs and one is priced higher than the other, customers buy the cheaper one.

However if there is only one product with a certain desired set of specs, the guys that make that product can pretty much charge whatever they can get away with.

If Microsoft released this undesired feature and left the PS4 the only one of the two with an optical drive, Sony could pretty much ask what they want - and get it.

It takes competition top drive prices down.


RE: News?
By SPOOFE on 1/4/2014 2:33:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This happens every GPU cycle. Nvidia drops a $1000 hot load on the face of consumers, a few months later, AMD releases a $500 load that performs better.

Yes, low-volume high-margin products exist. That doesn't mean that low-margin high-volume products are no longer the average product company's bread and butter.


RE: News?
By cyberguyz on 1/5/2014 3:42:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
This happens every GPU cycle. Nvidia drops a $1000 hot load on the face of consumers, a few months later, AMD releases a $500 load that performs better.


Thing is that after AMD blows their load all over the customers, Nvidia ain't gonna drop any more $1000 2nd place loads on customer faces while AMD is blowing their 1st place ones for $500. Nvidia will have to adjust what they charge for their hot wads.


All digital?
By eBob on 1/2/2014 10:54:25 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't modern video gaming all digital anyway? Even if one uses a disc, it is still digital. I think online-only is what was meant here.




RE: All digital?
By Flunk on 1/2/2014 12:01:34 PM , Rating: 2
Digital distribution, disc-based distribution is analog because of all the necessary meatspace shipping.


RE: All digital?
By Monkey's Uncle on 1/2/2014 1:03:23 PM , Rating: 2
XBOX One without a disk would require full time connection to the internet and DRM. This is something very few gamers will stand for.

Microsoft tried to introduce this and got severely spanked for it as prospective buyers told them in no uncertain terms that they would not buy it.

My guess is that the story is about the full DRM, always connected XBOX One they were hoping to foist off on us. I for one am glad it never saw a store shelf.


RE: All digital?
By Breakfast Susej on 1/2/2014 3:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
It was almost mystifying to watch the series of mis-steps Microsoft made with the Xbox One DRM fiasco. They could have gone with their vision if they would have just shut up about DRM and made things as non intrusive as possible. The talk about Xbox one was nothing but DRM even before it was announced and all the rumours were flying. Then they came out and handled that in the worst possible way anyone could have ever dreamed of handling it.

I don't get it because I see it as so simple. You want a successful digital download service? Do what Steam does. They set the standard, that's what people expect. You have to be as good, or better than Steam. There's no point even showing up if you can't at least match them.


RE: All digital?
By SPOOFE on 1/2/2014 4:22:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
full time connection to the internet and DRM. This is something very few gamers will stand for.

... Um, Steam?


No Disc Drive = Full Hard Disk
By HomerTNachoCheese on 1/2/2014 2:53:23 PM , Rating: 2
With a disc-free system, I would fill up that 500 GB drive in 1-2 years.

I have a PS3 with about 25 disc-based games. Once I subscribed to Plus, I have since downloaded about 40 more games. My 250 GB hard drive filled up and I had to uninstall games.

I realize that with many games, content will be installed from disc to hard disk anyways, but still a lot of content remains on the disc. If everything went to digital only, I would probably run out of space too soon or have to mod for more space.

I would be in favor of a disc-less system if I had a way to transfer game installs to and from another device on the network or attached storage as space was needed so that I would not have to re-download that 11 GB game in the future.




RE: No Disc Drive = Full Hard Disk
By SPOOFE on 1/2/2014 4:23:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With a disc-free system, I would fill up that 500 GB drive in 1-2 years.

And delete half of it in 1-2 minutes!


No bluray = No way
By Arkive on 1/2/2014 11:10:24 AM , Rating: 2

For a lot of people, we get a console for an all-in-one media hub that also has the option of playing games if we want it too. To remove the ability to play Bluray movies would completely brick the unit for a lot of us.




thumb drives?
By mike8675309 on 1/2/2014 12:11:26 PM , Rating: 2
The only point to having a blue ray drive is to support playing back existing DVD's, Blue Rays, and any previously distributed games. Outside of that you could get buy just fine with a USB port and the ability to load stuff off of a thumb drive if your internet is too slow.




two versions
By wushuktl on 1/2/2014 1:30:07 PM , Rating: 2
it would have been interesting if they released two versions, the no disk one could be much cheaper given that there's no physical drive AND the forced DRM given the sales model. the cheaper disk drive less XBO could have been a compromise on Microsoft's part with the potential additional title sales this could have created. and that way it Microsoft could have had a smoother transition from fully disk based gaming to fully digital distribution in two generations rather than what ended up happening this go around. Now it's as if nothing has changed with no incentive to go towards all digital distribution.




By Amiga500 on 1/2/2014 1:52:59 PM , Rating: 2
Where it would not be able to play any of your existing DVD/Blu-Ray collection.

Way to go MS. Those that even considered the need to discuss this should be dismissed for being completely out of touch with the user base.




Price dumping
By augiem on 1/2/2014 3:13:01 PM , Rating: 2
The other issue a business must worry about when going all digital distribution is the fact that probably most consumers see digital downloads as having very little or no intrinsic value. This sentiment is only reenforced by all the dirt cheap digital markets out there: iTunes devalued music, iPhone/Android/Facebook devalued casual games, Steam devalued PC/hardcore games, Netflix devalued movies, Amazon devalued books. Consumers simply will not pay full price for digital downloads, period. Then to make it worse, price wars become the norm as companies try to get their product noticed on the app store's top 10 list because that's the only place people bother looking to learn about new products further driving down the price of software. The cost of the box and printed disc never made up much of the price of software, but you can't deny that the lack of the physical element makes a difference in the consumer's mind.




a bit too soon
By SuicideNinja on 1/2/2014 3:23:29 PM , Rating: 2
While I was excited to drop discs (already committed to not buying Bluray and DVD Movies), I don't think the majority is quite there yet. I already bought games on disc because it was cheaper during the holiday.

Until it shows a savings benefit for the consumer, I don't see the current model rushing to its end. Once more people move to streaming and learn to let go of the space-wasting tangibility of physical media, they could try again. For those offline, they could always go for SD cards or something at an additional cost.

Considering that more people are getting comfortable daily with online shopping, mobile devices with apps, and video streaming, we aren't too far off but still not close enough. "Owning" media continually becomes a looser term. For me, as long as I have a license to access my purchases I am fine with it. Trading and gifting purchases will be easy to let go if savings and convenience comes together.

As for internet access, it will improve before it declines. The demand is too high.




External Disc Drive
By brotj on 1/3/2014 10:59:09 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry, until I can stream non compressed 1080P 3D and as it becomes available 4K 3D for my 138" projection screen. We will need Bluray. Downloading a movie or game for a week is not a reasonable option either.




obvious choice
By Murloc on 1/5/2014 10:19:54 AM , Rating: 2
Xbox is too dependent on children and teen-agers to make it without discs.
These kids have older parents who may not grasp the concept and may treat the xbox like a gameboy, that means no internet, or may not want the child to play online.

Steam is a more grown-up platform and avoided the issue entirely by being digital since its inception and will thus not need steamboxes to have disc readers.




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