Could Microsoft’s Project Scorpio Abandon Physical Media?

scorpio

During an interview at Xbox FanFest, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer had some interesting things to say about Microsoft’s next console Project Scorpio.

Spencer was particularly talkative about the subject of physical media. As some of you may remember, the original plan was for the Xbox One to drop the idea of physical media altogether in favor an all-digital video game console experience. This would have allowed Microsoft to implement features such as digital game sharing.

A big part of the reason why Microsoft decided to drop that idea was because it relied on their plan to have the Xbox One always be connected to the internet. Fans spoke out against that feature as it would have prevented gamers without reliable internet access from using their consoles.

When it comes to Project Scorpio, Spencer faces a similar concern. He indicated that the problem with removing physical media from Project Scorpio is that 4K streaming requires a great deal of bandwidth to operate properly. While Spencer recognizes that  streaming media such as Netflix and Hulu is becoming the dominant form of entertainment, Microsoft is worried how a 4K console that lacks a physical media drive might go over in countries and areas without strong internet connections.

Interestingly, Spencer did not rule out the possibility that Microsoft could still choose to drop the physical media drive. In fact, he said that “We’ve seen great adoption of it with the S. People seem to like it, but those kinds of decisions aren’t the decisions that we announced at E3. That’s not a push-back, I’m just saying those are the kind of decisions that can kind of bind later, what the drive is.”

Dropping the physical media drive would be a bold move for Microsoft. That’s especially true when you consider that 4K technology is not yet that prolific and that focusing on customers with 4K and strong internet access doesn’t leave you with much of a market.

Spencer also spoke briefly about the pricing strategy of the Xbox One but remained vague as to the final MSRP. However, he did note that the price of the Xbox One S was decided with the Scorpio’s price in mind so that the two products felt like part of the same line. Spencer insists that the price of Project Scorpio is not going to “be unlike any console price you’ve ever seen,” but that they are considering it to be a premium device.

Sadly, Spencer did not comment on the rumor that there could be a version of Project Scorpio that is all-digital and contains a larger hard drive, but his comments regarding physical media do suggest that is still a possibility.

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About Matthew Byrd

Matthew Byrd covers the gaming industry including indies, consoles, PCs, iOS and Android apps, as well as topics related to entertainment and technology. He also writes for IndieGameSource and DenOfGeek, and has his own blog at PixelCritique.com.

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