Next-gen Xbox could spell the end for physical discs

The future of new Xbox games looks solely digital after Microsoft layoffs and leaks of disc-less next-gen Xbox point to reduced focus on physical media.

With the potential release of a next-gen Xbox, the era of disc-based Xbox consoles could soon be a thing of the past. Court documents from the Microsoft-Activision merger revealed Project ‘Brooklyn’, a new iteration of Microsoft’s flagship console with no disc tray. This model would replace the current Xbox Series X|S iterations on the market.

Opting for a completely round design, as opposed to the boxy aesthetic of current Xbox consoles, Brooklyn appears to be a fully-fledged upgrade to the Series S. The Series S lacks some of the more appealing hardware in its larger counterpart, but still offers a high-end gaming experience for a fraction of the price. According to the merger documents, this console is reportedly set to be announced this year.

However, this upcoming console isn’t the only hint that Microsoft wants to reduce the amount of new Xbox games being released on physical discs. According to Windows Central managing editor Jez Corden “Microsoft has also shut down departments dedicated to bringing Xbox games to physical retail.”

next-gen xbox project brooklyn

The convenience of digital games is one of Xbox’s biggest USPs, as any player can get access to the best Xbox Game Pass games without even leaving their home. The subscription service continues to add massive titles, many of them cited as the best Xbox games around, such as Forza Motorsport and Starfield

It will also benefit from the arrival of Indiana Jones and the Great Circle later this year, which is confirmed to be a day-one Game Pass title. Furthermore, tiers like Game Pass Ultimate offer sturdy competition for PS Plus, including third-party additions like EA Play. This is only set to increase now that the Microsoft-Activision merger is complete, as mammoth franchises like Call of Duty are likely to have entries eventually made available at no extra charge.

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However, while the future of Xbox is looking decidedly digital, hope for physical release isn’t completely thrown out of the window. The reduction to Xbox’s physical departments is disheartening, but it doesn’t rule out disc-based releases for the future. Microsoft can still rely on other parties to manufacture its games for retail stores.

With the possible addition of an Xbox Game Pass app for iOS devices in the future, playing digital forms of the best FPS games or best RPG games is undoubtedly becoming the go-to option.