Microsoft reveals first disc-less Xbox Series X

Enlarge / Looking more like a refrigerator than ever before.

A new version of Microsoft’s top-end Xbox Series X will launch without a disc drive for the first time this holiday season.

The new “Digital Edition” console option—which sports 1TB of storage and an Xbox Series S-like “Robot White” color scheme—will be available “in select markets” for an estimated retail price of $449 (or 500 euros). That price is just $50 less than the MSRP for the current, disc-drive-equipped Xbox Series X, which is currently on sale for $449 from the Microsoft Store.

Word of Microsoft’s plans for a disc-drive-free Xbox Series X first leaked last September as part of the Federal Trade Commission’s case against the Microsoft/Activision merger. But the new disc-free Series X bears little resemblance to the cylindrical “Brooklin” refresh shown in those leaked promo materials, which also touted redesigned internals and improved power usage. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said at the time that “so much has changed” from the “old emails and documents” in those leaks.

The new Digital Edition Series X will seemingly be on store shelves alongside the standard edition, meaning that Microsoft is not moving away from disc-based games entirely just yet. To the contrary, a new “Galaxy Black” Xbox Series X model with a disc drive and 2TB of storage is also planned to launch “in limited quantities” this holiday season at a price of $600. That makes the new hardware slightly cheaper than buying a current Xbox Series X and adding on 1TB of expansion storage for about $150.

Microsoft is also planning a holiday launch for a version of its 1TB edition of the Xbox Series S in Robot White, supplementing the “Carbon Black” version that launched last September. Both colors will be available for $349.

Alongside the weekend hardware announcements, Xbox President Sarah Bond vaguely asserted that they were “hard at work on the next generation” of Xbox hardware and will be “pushing the technical boundaries in our future hardware.”

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