Rumor: No disc drive in Microsoft's next Xbox console?

There have been a ton of rumors about Microsoft's plans for the next version of its Xbox game console over the past several months. Today, a new rumor from the game business themed web site MCV claims that the next Xbox won't have what has been an important hardware part in previous game consoles.

The article claims via unnamed sources that Microsoft is telling its partners not to expect any kind of disc drive for its next game console. However, there will apparently be some kind of solid state storage support for the console, although it was not clear if it would have a standard SD port or if Microsoft will feature its own proprietary solution.

The article also claims that Microsoft plans to launch its next game console sometime in 2013, which has been rumored in the past. However, it could not confirm when Microsoft will actually announce its plans for the console. Many in the industry believe that Microsoft will reveal more at E3 in June.

If there is no disc drive in the next Xbox, it could be bad news for brick-and-mortar based game retailers who may not be able to sell any physical copies of games anymore. Naturally, when contacted Microsoft said it would not comment on rumors and speculation.

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No optical drive bay - they're going the Apple way.

While this is clearly the future, the Internet speeds aren't good enough to allow that right away with game consoles. Games will be available on 50GB dual-layer Blu-rays for the next-generation consoles, not as downloads. This will be the last time we will see optical discs in gaming.

PyX said,
Games will be available on 50GB dual-layer Blu-rays for the next-generation consoles

Today PC games are between 8GB and 16GB, they are designed to be played at 1080p or higher resolution with high quality texture and cinematic than the next-generation consoles. Then I cannot see how can they use a 50GB dual-layer BD unless the put cinematic in a raw format, but why they will bother in use a expensive dual-layer BD instead of use their cpu power to decompress video using a cheap single-layer BD.

Edited by Rolosa, Mar 10 2012, 1:08am :

The last rumor was that the drive in the next Xbox was going to mark your disk, tyng it to your machine to end the used game market. But if there is not drive, then how is that rumor to come true?

This is just a stupid rumor and it's complete rubbish. Of COURSE the next Xbox is going to have an optical drive, no doubt it will be Blu-Ray. To think otherwise is ridiuclous.

Not going to happen, Not everyone has access to the internet and for the ones who do, not everyone has the bandwidth speeds to be download these games that would be around 8GB+ at very fast speeds. Furthermore, bandwidth caps would deter file downloads and sales. Also a lot of people do not want to use there credit card info to make these purchases over the net and might not have access to the other paying methods. Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony, are smart enough to realize it would alienate a big portion of this market.

Ultravires said,
Not going to happen, Not everyone has access to the internet and for the ones who do, not everyone has the bandwidth speeds to be download these games that would be around 8GB+ at very fast speeds. Furthermore, bandwidth caps would deter file downloads and sales. Also a lot of people do not want to use there credit card info to make these purchases over the net and might not have access to the other paying methods. Microsoft, Nintendo or Sony, are smart enough to realize it would alienate a big portion of this market.

Ever heard of Steam?

Perhaps there will still be an optical drive, purely for media purposes. This would allow them to release a smaller unit without it for those that don't want one

-T- said,
Perhaps there will still be an optical drive, purely for media purposes. This would allow them to release a smaller unit without it for those that don't want one

I could absolutely see something like that as a possibility--have a 'lite' model designed for the cloud, and another with all the bells and whistles. The veteran gamers will want to go for the extra options and the tried and true optical disk. The newer generation will be satisfied with relying on the net in exchange for lower prices. Whatever the case, the Xbox team has shown in the past that they "get it", so they will come out with something that makes sense.

Hmm, torn on this one. Just have a cheap external peripheral or a different model for those of us who use the system to actually play DVDs. Interesting nonetheless...

Wow, so many angry and adamant responses...

Optical Media is dying and will be dead before long as BluRay becomes unable to handle newer higher resolution content.

The reason Optical Media had success is that it was cheap to produce, and had larger capacities than other technologies. This is no longer true. When the DVD was popular, the standard HD size was 2GB, a DVD was 4-8GB.

As BluRay/HDDVD started to emerge, they were already failing their need, as their capacities were lower than the average HD at the time. A 25GB BluRay today is 'tiny' compared to 1-3TB HD, with 320-500GB being the average today.

When there is NO LONGER any benefit in a technology, it goes away. Optical Media is vastly slower, is not cheap, and is not capable or larger capacities than other technologies.

So this has nothing to do with ONLINE ONLY.

As for Online... It will factor into the equation, with a majority of XBox 360 owners purchasing game online. If people stop to consider newer technologies of 'streaming' game purchases, like many online games do on the PC with the main game client and content downloading which allows people to start playing while the rest of the game is downloaded as needed or in the background at a later time.

Online content is the 'eventual' future; however they are non-optical mediums that could be used just a 'cheaply' for retail game sales and rentals.

SD and flash is probably the best bet, as the cost of 16gb flash storage is dirt cheap, and getting cheaper, with 32gb and 64gb soon going to be in the sub $10 production cost range.

Which puts flash in the same range as the initial cost of putting a BluRay game on the physical optical Disc when the PS3 was released.

So if you can get a smaller, faster, and potentially larger medium than a clunky optical disc, why on earth would you design a console around optical media?

Many technology theorists and engineers like myself have been stating this for several years now, and now that people hear Microsoft has had the same conclusion, they are shocked. Why?

This is a GOOD thing, as it will allow newer larger capacities as Flash technology improves or variations of flash technology emerge that use a specific interface.

SD is fairly secure, which means Microsoft could use it or a slight variation for games and also be compatible with existing Flash and SD solutions via fast interface technologies like USB3 and eSATA, etc.

This is a win win for gamers, and as for 'compatibility', Microsoft will sell you a DVD/BluRay drive that plugs into the console for XBox 360 games and your current Movies. However, there is no reason to raise the fragility, failrate and production costs on a console just to 'slap' one into it now.


Anyone notice most notebooks no longer have DVD drives and iPads have done well with optical media, and so have Phones and other consumser devices.

Roku type technologies do well and they are in direct competition with BluRay devices that offer the same online content, streaming, and Apps. However people are willing to spend the same price on a Simple Roku than buy a cumbersome and 'not needed' BluRay player with the same features.

This is the consumer market speaking already.


So everyone that feels 'bad' about this or thinks they will be left out because of their slower internet connection, you have nothing to worry about, and should be 'happy' as technology is moving forward and you will be slapping 16,32,64gb of content for a game into your console on a SD/Flash drive that in the future will allow 256gb, 1TB sizes and that is currently impossible today for gaming content.


Microsoft isn't stupid, even if they have a few bad business people and marketing idiots. Their science and technology engineers are the top in the world, and they might know what they are doing.

Remember these are the same hardware engineers from the XBox 360 and XBox teams that changed gaming and technology that affects every computer and device in the world today. (New user mode shader language and PS/VS technologies in the original XBox and a vast new GPU design and architecture in the XBox 360 that redefined the entire GPU design and is what all video cards made in the last 5 years are based on.)

So don't panic, and actually be a bit excited, even if the authors of this information do not 'get' the benefits and how this will be easier, cheaper, and give ya more gaming features..

They could always have a disc drive as an addon, like the HDDVD drive, but capable of loading game discs. This way people could still buy discs if their internet connection has caps, and those who only download won't need a disc drive. If the download-only model works for steam it could also work for Microsoft.

giantpotato said,
They could always have a disc drive as an addon, like the HDDVD drive, but capable of loading game discs. This way people could still buy discs if their internet connection has caps, and those who only download won't need a disc drive. If the download-only model works for steam it could also work for Microsoft.

And slow online connections are not a limitation either, as SD/Flash prices are now lower than the production cost of BluRay when the PS3 launched years ago.

SD/Flash has potential for more speed, less prone to errors, and can in theory have no limit in potential size. It also has inherent hardware security aka the SD portion, and can be paired with additional 'encryption' from Microsoft so game publishers will have less worry of pirating than optical drives today.

WP7 already using two forms of internal encryption on the internal SD memory, which is why the devices that have removable MicroSD angered people at first, as it is locked, so that someone stealing a phone or pulling the MicroSD out of the phone will NEVER gain access to what the user has stored on the device.
**(Sadly iPhone/iOS and Android do not provide this level of security. Pop the case on an iPhone without a removable MicroSD card, and with a couple of alligator clips your personal data is compromised.)


Online is the future for the majority of users, but it is not the only way to distribute games, and optical media is dead in that it no longer has any advantages.


And like you state with Steam... As people get better online connection speeds, and can use stream install of games, that grab the game client and the first level of the game and download the rest of the game at a later time or as needed, like most online games on the PC do, even slow internet connections are capable of serving large game distribution.

I'm going to take a chance and speculate here.

There IS a Microsoft box being built without an optical drive. Someone over at that site caught wind of this and wanted to call it the next xbox.

The product is really just a further refinement of this generation xbox's SoC.
It is intended to reduce reliance on Motorola Mobility for cable set top boxes used in their Mediaroom product.

Motorola Mobility are the number one manufacturer of Mediaroom set top boxes. Google's acquisition of the company threatens the Mediaroom product.

Oh, and it will also ship with Kinect.

It is not unreasonable to believe they could ditch an optical disk for a proprietary read-only flash memory solution... essentially a return to the "game cartridge" days. If they go Blu-Ray then they're limited to 25GB single layer or 50GB dual layer and they'd just be doing what the PS3 already does so I think they'd want to go beyond that. BDXL would take them up to 128GB and be Blu-Ray compatible but I still don't think MS wants to get on the BD bandwagon. If the have a flash "cartridge" they could put different amounts of memory on the "cartridge" depending on need so small games could be on like 2GB cartridges while big ones could be on 64GB cartridges as the prices come down. Likewise the read speeds and access times could go way up from that of optical media though you would lose the ability to play CDs, DVDs, etc. I could see them willing to do that now though and just recommend streaming music and movies instead. (though those with poor internet connections would be out of luck for movies.) Of course in addition to the "cartridge" many to all software on the next gen consoles will probably be downloadable for those with a fat enough pipe or enough patience to get it that way.

Not going to happen. What happens if someone doesn't have an internet connection? Also, discs cost nearly nothing to produce games on, flash cards and whatever are far more expensive and harder to produce.

This rumor is utter nonsense. I can see the idea of promoting release day downloads or something, but no disc drive is crazy.

Chrono951 said,
Not going to happen. What happens if someone doesn't have an internet connection? Also, discs cost nearly nothing to produce games on, flash cards and whatever are far more expensive and harder to produce.

This rumor is utter nonsense. I can see the idea of promoting release day downloads or something, but no disc drive is crazy.

Actually, you are not thinking of the bigger picture. For one, the demand for SD based cards would sour and bring prices down. Next, you are thinking of a normal SD card and not thinking about the fact this media will be read-only. So it's not going to need a NAND cell which is written numerous times, so they will be cheaper to produce.

Likely this is a play on words:

"The article claims via unnamed sources that Microsoft is telling its partners not to expect any kind of disk drive for its next game console. However, there will apparently be some kind of solid state storage support for the console"

disk drive = storage, solid state = storage... it will just have a user replaceable SSD...

This I would find very hard to believe. They have been positioning the XBox to be an entertainment hub. For that they would need to be able to play DVD's and at this point Blurays...

M_Lyons10 said,
This I would find very hard to believe. They have been positioning the XBox to be an entertainment hub. For that they would need to be able to play DVD's and at this point Blurays...

Yep, and for users that want that, I'm sure you will be able to buy a plug in drive. There is NO reason to build it into the console.

When Roku is outselling BluRay devices that have the SAME online content, Apps, and streaming functions and are in the same price range, the majority of the public is already moving past optical media.

Why does everyone assume the device won't have USB3/eSATA/etc interfaces?

The HDDVD drive hooked up to the original XBox 360 just fine.

The real drawback is the retro compatibility, you won´t be able to play your old games. It is probably that Microsoft will sell a external disk drive.
They should go for a common technology as SD to down cost because a proprietary technology in storage would skyrocket prices, then we would have a SD with some kind of copy protection as Hardware ID and a SD with not switch.
Microsoft will push online sales and games should be developed in some way that they can be played without downloaded the full content, just the engine and the first chapter, the rest of the game will be downloaded as the same time that you play.
The problem here is how can you play the same game in multiple consoles, i.e. in a console´s friend. They will allow to download a game multiple times? What happens with your online games if you console broke and you buy a new one? Then the answer should be yes.

Guess what, Microsoft has always been saying this, and its always interpreted wrong! This comment from Microsoft always means "don't expect the console to have a hard drive, because its an optional add on. Therefore developers, keep your game saves small." Xbox's are already sold without hard drives today. They call it the 4GB version, and guess what, it has solid state storage inside it! 4GB of it. Wow! Finally, this stories title is misleading and is clearly for 'shock value.'

Seeing how they've ruined Windows with 8. I don't put it past them to ruin their gaming console. They're trying hard to shoot themselves in the foot for some reason.

I can't see the prices of SSD's coming down quick enough to make it viable in massmarket consoles. It would be just too expensive to put something reasonable sized in there - especially if there is a move to downloading and storing content (not everything will be streamed) locally.
A 1 or 2tb hdd would make sense, you could get a lot of games on there, but more importantly MS seems to be targetting the new Xbox (Durango?) as a media proposition for getting Metro into people's living rooms, so you'd need a fair bit of space for music/pics etc. (not everyone will want to store on Skydrive or stream from Zune)

Pygmy_Hippo said,
I can't see the prices of SSD's coming down quick enough to make it viable in massmarket consoles. It would be just too expensive to put something reasonable sized in there - especially if there is a move to downloading and storing content (not everything will be streamed) locally.
A 1 or 2tb hdd would make sense, you could get a lot of games on there, but more importantly MS seems to be targetting the new Xbox (Durango?) as a media proposition for getting Metro into people's living rooms, so you'd need a fair bit of space for music/pics etc. (not everyone will want to store on Skydrive or stream from Zune)

How did you get onto the subject of SSDs? This article is about removing the DVD drive, and possibly replacing it with an SD (not SSD) Card slot or similar.

TCLN Ryster said,

How did you get onto the subject of SSDs? This article is about removing the DVD drive, and possibly replacing it with an SD (not SSD) Card slot or similar.

Lol, very true - I saw "apparently be some kind of solid state storage support for the console" and went off half-cocked! I'm going to blame it on having pneumonia and 2 hours kip the night before! God knows what I've been writing about elsewhere, probably homicidal wombles!!

Its hard to see how games could be put on a memory card at an affordable price. a 32gb micro sd card starts at £13ish. A Bluray ROM disc costs less than £1 to make. If they are planning to sell games for £60 then reduce the price over time as the price of micro sd cards lower then that is possible but they would still cost way more than an optical disc to manufacture.

I'm sure it will have a bluray drive and use bluray discs or a proprietary format that the drive can play.

torrentthief said,
Its hard to see how games could be put on a memory card at an affordable price. a 32gb micro sd card starts at £13ish. A Bluray ROM disc costs less than £1 to make. If they are planning to sell games for £60 then reduce the price over time as the price of micro sd cards lower then that is possible but they would still cost way more than an optical disc to manufacture.

I'm sure it will have a bluray drive and use bluray discs or a proprietary format that the drive can play.

Even if this rumour is true, they're not going to use micro-sd are they? They tiny and very easy to lose. Not to mention have hardly any space for a game label to be stuck to them. Nah, if true they'll either use something like full size SD, or a new proprietary format (to make copying almost impossible).

"If there is no disk drive in the next Xbox, it could be bad news for brick-and-mortar based game retailers who may not be able to sell any physical copies of games anymore. Naturally, when contacted Microsoft said it would not comment on rumors and speculation."

Its not quite true. The popular console game retailers here in the UK do offer xbox Live arcade cards for various games. I can understand that DVDs would simply be replaced by one of these gift type cards, with the code being redeemed on line.

It'd certainly cut out the 2nd hand resale that a lot of stores currently do offer. I myself don't buy very many new games, because the price of them are far too expensive for the content that they're generally rehashing (MW, COD etc), and I'd much prefer to buy a 2nd hand used game for 1/4 the price, even if that means i get it a year later.
That is the way I've brought the majority of my games and I actually feel worse doing that then, knowing full well that the retail stores are making a profit, and ripping off developers. I'd rather my money go towards the developers, but not at the prices they're asking.

I'd welcome the XBOX with online redeemable codes for the most apart, I do find myself playing a lot of the xbox live arcade games, a lot of the time because thye're there, ready to play. However, the ondemand 'full retail' games that are several years old are still asking a premium price and unless Microsoft and the publishers start to cut prices for older games, they're going to end up with a lot of angry gamers... or maybe pirates.

If it comes to internet connections... I know several people who own a xbox, but don't actually have an internet connection, or indeed want one. With mobile internet becoming more common for people to just use their mobile phone for basic internet tasks, Microsoft is going to be fighting a hard battle not only on the poor quality internet speeds but also from mobile broadband restrictions.

how would no HDD be bad for brick and mortar stores? you'd think that would HELP them unless the next console is an OnLive type system... because you still need to store those downloaded games somewhere! and with broadband caps you wouldn't want to stream gaming all the time or download games as they are played as they could ruin your cap for a single game if its big enough. and if games could get 16+GB per game SD cards would get expensive fast for good speed ones...

neufuse said,
how would no HDD be bad for brick and mortar stores? you'd think that would HELP them unless the next console is an OnLive type system... because you still need to store those downloaded games somewhere! and with broadband caps you wouldn't want to stream gaming all the time or download games as they are played as they could ruin your cap for a single game if its big enough. and if games could get 16+GB per game SD cards would get expensive fast for good speed ones...

I think there's some confusion as to whether this is about the internal disk drive or the optical disc drive. There HAS to be an internal drive of some sort, so I think this article is about the optical disc drive - hence being bad for brick and mortar stores. But of course, if there's no discs then there would need to be some other physical medium as we aren't at that point yet.

neufuse said,
how would no HDD be bad for brick and mortar stores? you'd think that would HELP them unless the next console is an OnLive type system... because you still need to store those downloaded games somewhere! and with broadband caps you wouldn't want to stream gaming all the time or download games as they are played as they could ruin your cap for a single game if its big enough. and if games could get 16+GB per game SD cards would get expensive fast for good speed ones...

read the title again ... it is about optical drive

Ci7 said,

read the title again ... it is about optical drive

lol, I did exactly the same as neufuse - had to do a few double takes before i cottoned on!

Ci7 said,

read the title again ... it is about optical drive

Maybe you should read the title again. It says "disk drive", not "disc drive". It's about the optical drive but doesn't actually say that.

Ci7 said,

read the title again ... it is about optical drive

I never called it an "Optial Disk" its an Optical Disc...... and when you say Disk Drive you are generally talking about a Hard Disk Drive not optical drives

neufuse said,

I never called it an "Optial Disk" its an Optical Disc...... and when you say Disk Drive you are generally talking about a Hard Disk Drive not optical drives

guh i got myself confussed aswell , shame.

had report the error already through

i'm sure that rental/online paying will become more and more prominent as well as cloud features, but this would be so big a transition that it will never happen like this - MS accumulated a nice little upper hand over Sony over the past years which would all be in jeopardy with a move like this

even if an "arcade games only" xbox would show up some small storage is a musthave

Jose_49 said,
Yeah . I'm expecting a 360 that can support BD XL (although I don't think Devs will be able to fill half of it though)

it would surely support backward formats

then they can use whatever size fit them Single layer (25GB) double layer (50GB) or XL

hopefully BR Disc price come down by then

you know what

if the console are mean't to stay for ten years , may as well go with SD card(devs won't be hindered by space anymore!, as bigger better and cheaper sd get released)?

They've been saying this for years.

It wont be download only because the size of the games would be prohibitive to download for most people and then you have the problems of HDD space, unless they give you 500Gb/1Tb HDD in the machine its going to fill up pretty quick.

As for media cards, discs cost a fraction of flash memory, if they had to use flash memory the cards would have to be at least 32Gb maybe even 64Gb (to fit Bluray size games) and that would add a massive increase to the cost of the game.

TheLegendOfMart said,
They've been saying this for years.

It wont be download only because the size of the games would be prohibitive to download for most people and then you have the problems of HDD space, unless they give you 500Gb/1Tb HDD in the machine its going to fill up pretty quick.

As for media cards, discs cost a fraction of flash memory, if they had to use flash memory the cards would have to be at least 32Gb maybe even 64Gb (to fit Bluray size games) and that would add a massive increase to the cost of the game.

You're already paying $60 for a game that was put on a $0.05-0.07 cents per physical disk. What am I missing here that makes you think that $5-10 flash cards are going to increase the cost of games? it's only going to shrink profit margins.

cybertimber2008 said,
You're already paying $60 for a game that was put on a $0.05-0.07 cents per physical disk. What am I missing here that makes you think that $5-10 flash cards are going to increase the cost of games? it's only going to shrink profit margins.

Are you naive enough to think that publishers are going to eat the cost of flash cards?

TheLegendOfMart said,

Are you naive enough to think that publishers are going to eat the cost of flash cards?

Not to mention the increased demand will lower prices even more.

TheLegendOfMart said,
They've been saying this for years.

It wont be download only because the size of the games would be prohibitive to download for most people and then you have the problems of HDD space, unless they give you 500Gb/1Tb HDD in the machine its going to fill up pretty quick.

As for media cards, discs cost a fraction of flash memory, if they had to use flash memory the cards would have to be at least 32Gb maybe even 64Gb (to fit Bluray size games) and that would add a massive increase to the cost of the game.

Imagion if they went the direction of OnLive...

Bad or good?

cybertimber2008 said,
You're already paying $60 for a game that was put on a $0.05-0.07 cents per physical disk. What am I missing here that makes you think that $5-10 flash cards are going to increase the cost of games? it's only going to shrink profit margins.

You're delusional if you think they'd touch their profit margins.

I hope it still has physical copies, surely they wouldn't copy the failed PSP Go. I hate disks they break easily, hopefully they come up with a good replacement.

Shahrad said,
Well I Guess cloud has become more of a buzz word --> reality than some people think!

Yeah, the cloud eventually will have more to do with control than anything else. Doing it this way may allow MS to charge a much higher amount for a physical copy, and an external device

Sorry, but this is pure nonsense. Never going to happen.

Until there is universal high-speed (10mb+) broadband for all worldwide with no usage caps, Microsoft would not dare remove the optical drive from their console. The only alternatively would be to switch to sd-card or something similar, and that would be like going back to cartridges again which would be a bad move IMO.

Although saying that, switching to some kind of proprietary cartridge method would make piracy more difficult. Microsoft could also then tie that cartridge to the console it was first used on and eliminate the second-hand market overnight ;-)

Why would SSD Cards be a Bad thing? How many games out there do not fill up a DVD. If a Developer wants to save cash, they could be it on a 8G SSD, if it is a blockbuster and they want to give you all the Making of material they put the game on a 64G or 128G.

By the time the Xbox 720 (Next) whatever comes out, 32G drives will be under $10. It should also help drive down the cost of SSD Cards by increasing its market.

MikadoWU said,
Why would SSD Cards be a Bad thing? How many games out there do not fill up a DVD. If a Developer wants to save cash, they could be it on a 8G SSD, if it is a blockbuster and they want to give you all the Making of material they put the game on a 64G or 128G.

By the time the Xbox 720 (Next) whatever comes out, 32G drives will be under $10. It should also help drive down the cost of SSD Cards by increasing its market.

SD cards are WAY more expensive than a disc. A disc is extremely cheap to manufacture.

mrp04 said,

SD cards are WAY more expensive than a disc. A disc is extremely cheap to manufacture.

Indeed. Granted there would be economies of scale if they put all their games onto these, but they're still very expensive if you want to match the capacity of a blu-ray disc. £26.98 for a 32GB SD on dabs.com

There's also the issue that alot of Xbox owners use their consoles to play their DVDs, and alot of people would very much like Microsoft to use Blu-Ray this time around. Removing the DVD drive entirely would not be a popular decision.

TCLN Ryster said,
Sorry, but this is pure nonsense. Never going to happen.

Until there is universal high-speed (10mb+) broadband for all worldwide with no usage caps, Microsoft would not dare remove the optical drive from their console. The only alternatively would be to switch to sd-card or something similar, and that would be like going back to cartridges again which would be a bad move IMO.

Although saying that, switching to some kind of proprietary cartridge method would make piracy more difficult. Microsoft could also then tie that cartridge to the console it was first used on and eliminate the second-hand market overnight ;-)

But piracy is good how else would we ever play any games then?