The future of gaming is undoubtedly digital, and now Microsoft has confirmed that it almost launched the Xbox One without an optical disc drive.
Despite the early Xbox One details having been announced earlier in the year, Microsoft has revealed that it considered dropping the console’s physical, disc-based gaming abilities as late as mid-2013, just months ahead of the console’s eventual global release.
Speaking with the Official Xbox Magazine, Phil Spencer, Head of Microsoft Studios stated that a “purely disc-less console” had been strongly pushed for the Xbox One platform.
"Obviously, after the announcement and E3, there was some feedback about what people wanted to change," Spencer said of the console. "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.”
According to the Microsoft Studio head, the final decision to incorporate an optical drive within the Xbox One ultimately rested on unpredictable global internet speeds which could have left some gamers unable to access certain games or elements of games.
He stated: “When you start looking at bandwidth and game size, it does create issues. 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."
Despite the Xbox One having finally been bestowed with an integrated optical drive, Microsoft’s next-gen efforts have played second fiddle to the rival PS4 since launch.
According to sales figures published yesterday, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the UK during the lucrative Christmas launch window.
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