I don’t always report on rumors and speculation because honestly who knows if there’s any truth to what we’re hearing. That said, this is one rumor I just had to pass your way. So here’s the scoop, apparently MCV has heard from reliable sources that Microsoft’s next Xbox, which is gearing up for a holiday 2013 release, will not feature an optical drive. Instead the system will feature some sort of solid-state cartridge format, but not for use in the traditional sense. It is unknown if the system will make use of a proprietary format or something like SD cards, but either way this does fall in line with what we heard earlier about the system not being able to play used games. How you may ask, simple. Rumors are also suggesting that you wouldn’t buy these carts with individual games on them, instead they would be used only to download the games from your local retailers, and then bring the carts back to your system if you don’t want to download the games directly from Live. This sounds very similar to what Nintendo did years ago in Japan with their Famicom Disk Drive add-on for the original Famicom.
As of right now this is purely a rumor, but again, it seems to fall in line with everything else we’ve been hearing about the new machine. The question I have for all of you is, what do you think of this? If you were forced to download your games to the system, or to go to a retail store to download the games to a cart, is this a future you’re interested in?
Personally I love the idea of no longer having to worry about discs and carts all over the place. If I could have my entire catalogue on my system, perfect. I completely understand those that sell their games, and others that love having a physical collection, but for me I truly see this as the future of the industry. The major concern though isn’t so much about personal taste, it’s about countries whose infrastructure isn’t as up to date as North America and Europe. What happens then? Well if the rumors are true and those people could visit their local game shops to download the games on these unique carts, well that might just solve that problem.
Whatever the truth may be, this is a very interesting story and slowly but surely the pieces are all coming together. In my mind it’s very clear that Microsoft is trying to create an Apple-like ecosystem whereby they will control your living room with their Xbox brand, think Hulu, Netflix, etc, and then tie that into Metro-enabled tablets and laptops, Windows 8 PCs, and their Nokia-Windows phones. Imagine being able to access all your Live information, friends lists, achievements, etc, from any device out there, and have full access to your games, your movies, photos, music and whatever else you might have on these devices. I can see the big picture here and I must admit, if all of this comes to fruition, it’s going to be pretty crazy.