back to article Microsoft 'yanked optical drive from Xbox 720'

Microsoft's next Xbox - whatever it's called - will not feature an optical disc drive, moles have claimed. Instead, it will gain games by downloads and possibly on memory cards too. Allegedly breaking one of the "strictest NDA" contracts ever encountered, the insiders said the console will indeed be launched in 2013, as …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
FAIL

Re: Is this really unexpected?

Problem for me with this is it's aimed at allowing Microsoft to control the distribution channel.

I can buy a 6 months old game from Amazon/Play/Ebay for £15(second hand)-25(new) on XBoxLive I have to pay £40 for the privilege.

I happily own 60 games for the XBox and XBox 360 but if this is the way Microsoft want to play it then I will wait to see what SONY are offering and if they too try to fuckover their customers I will buy which ever is easiest to crack and give neither of them a penny more than that.

3
0
Silver badge
Unhappy

Re: Is this really unexpected?

"Or even a problem?"

Well, if you can afford the latests shiny at release then I guess not, but I personally very VERY rarely ever buy games on release - I would much rather wait until there are some relatively cheap second hand copies kicking about, and even then I can pick up a couple of games for £20 or less.

If it was a case that MS were doing this in the name of progress, then yes I would be in favour of it, but that doesn't appear to be the case here - it looks like they are effectively trying to shut down the second hand games market with this activity.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Is this really unexpected?

It's a safe bet that Sony will continue with BluRay, though it will likely support BDXL or even bigger disks. Try downloading 128gb in a hurry. I've got a 75Mbps connection at home and it would still be much faster to drive to the store to buy a game and still have time left over to stop for a beer or seven :)

2
0
Paris Hilton

"I will wait to see what SONY are offering and if they too try to fuckover their customers"

Ummm, isn't fucking over their customers SOP for Sony?

0
0

Of course there won't be an optical drive

MS knows full well they dropped a clanger making the XBox360 with a DVD drive, whereas Sony added BluRay. That's why Sony were able to get exclusives because no gamer can be bothered with 6 discs.

I'm not sure why anyone would be surprised that discs will disappear altogether pretty soon. It's an outdated way to distribute digital media and has been for a long time now. No-one noticed how aggressively Amazon is pursuing digital content distribution online? They aren't stupid. Retailers selling physical media should have woken up to this 5 years ago. They're screwed.

0
3
Silver badge

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

If they can't be bothered with six DVDs I'm pretty sure they can't be bothered waiting a day* for it to download.

Unless they plan to stream levels to the memory card, in which case thank goodness everyone's got cheap fast reliable always-on broadband internet that doesn't have bandwidth limits these days. **

* Someone will inevitably correct me on this.

** Joke alert.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

Of course, this is all well and good...if you've got good fast broadband. Oh, and download caps?

1
0

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

Sure - not everyone has fast enough broadband. But MS know a huge percentage of their userbase (I would be amazed if it was less than 98%) do. You simply don't add a large expense to the cost of your hardware that 100% of your users have to pay for simply to pander to 2% of them. It's harsh, but that's how it is. Whether I agree with it or not, we're about to witness the death of physical media sales, and the second hand games market.

0
4
FAIL

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

LOL 98% having fast-enough broadband. Nope, not even close.

You're making the usual geek mistake of assuming that just because your close circle has the latest tech, virtually everyone else do.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

Actually the last survey I saw showed that it was only something like 75% were connected to the internet with the PS3 at around 80% and the Wii well behind at less than 60%. And those were US numbers, in much of the rest of the world the numbers will almost certainly be lower.

0
0

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

Why would they be lower outside the US? According to Wikipedia's confusingly arranged data the US is only ranked 17th in the world when comparing percentages of the population with fixed broadband connections or 28th if you compare percentages of the population that are 'broadband internet users'*.

*I'm not sure if this just means they're including people with mobile broadband or if they've decided you're a broadband internet user if you have an internet cafe around the corner from your home.

0
0
Boffin

6 Disks?

It worked for Phantasmagoria (actually 7)

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

Re: Of course there won't be an optical drive

"You're making the usual geek mistake of assuming that just because your close circle has the latest tech, virtually everyone else do."

No, he's claiming XBOX360 users are a demographic who ill tend to have much better broadband than the national average. i.e. they're geeks too.

0
0

Time to chuck out my kids DVDs then

My 360 has become more of a DVD player recently spending most of its time playing The Gruffalo over and over again. I can understand MS wanting to move people to a download model ala Apple's successful iTunes and App stores but not having the drive at all will punish people like those with families that use it as an entertainment device and watch relatively cheap (and often older) DVDs or Blurays.

I'm usually the first to suggest tech as a solution but the market for media and the broadband infrastructure don't support the download only model just yet.

Moaning about second hand games is a non-starter. EMEA is notorious for reducing game prices not long after launch. Other (larger?) markets keep game prices higher for much much longer. It's retailers and distributors here that are worse for the publisher - they have created an expectation of lower prices a few weeks after launch.

2
0

Re: Time to chuck out my kids DVDs then

Couldn't agree more. I can just see MS launching such a system with much fanfare here in South Africa, where broadband costs are anything up to 1000 times higher than anywhere else, and then wondering why nobody buys their games. Believe me, Steam was, until recently when BB costs started dropping, a steaming pile of idiocy that only rich kids could use.

1
0
Silver badge
Coffee/keyboard

What about

The 50% of people on less than 4Mbps

Low Caps

10% to 40% that can't get decent broadband.

Forget about mass market downloads of DVD never mind BD size titles on 3G or 4G/LTE. There isn't the capacity.

Decisions made by people on corporate Fibre?

3
0
FAIL

This might work if everyone had fast broadband...

But they can fuck right off if they think I'm going to spend however long it would take to download gigs and gigs of a game on my 2meg connection. You can describe discs as outdated all you like, but until we all have fast enough connectivity they will continue to be the most practical distribution mechanism.

Not to mention, as others have already said, what about watching that collection of DVDs I've already got?

3
1

Re: This might work if everyone had fast broadband...

Buy a DVD player for ~£10 maybe?

2
0

hmm...

... tricky for those with tight download quotas then...

How about... take your removable SSD to (store), and they blow a copy onto the storage there, via some MS-provided delivery mechanism?

1
0
FAIL

EPIC FAIL

No second hand games

No Xbox backwards compatability

No Blu-Ray or DVD movie playback.

The current Xbox was a disaster from the technical point of view, it's good to see Microsoft continuing the tradition. All they need now is to pay some "industry experts" that nobody has heard to to proclaim that digital game distribution is the future. Of course when Sony did this with the PSP GO, they didn't have the "industry experts" to back them up...

4
4
Day

Re: EPIC FAIL

They don't need an industry expert. Digital game distribution *is* the future. Think about all the people who play games in the world today. How many of them do you think have ever bought a game in physical form?

1
4
Silver badge
Trollface

Re: EPIC FAIL

Bad troll, naughty troll for making me respond - back into your cave!

2
0

Re: EPIC FAIL

well, i hesitate to suggest they might release a special microsoft add-on optical drive to enable backwards compatabilty... it's not like the original had an extortionalety priced special wi-fi adapter, or hard disk.

0
0
Unhappy

WTF?

What in hell's name am I going to do when it comes to replaying my old faves? And, I may be weird but I like the physical, tactile experince of breaking in to a wrapper and getting my hands on that shiny and new smelling product! Thumbing my way through a well written instruction leaflet is one of the joys of discovering a new game world!

ALL THAT WILL BE GONE!!!!

0
1
JDX
Gold badge

Re: WTF?

Sorry, you're a dinosaur :)

0
0
WTF?

What about download limits?

This would be fine in theory, if all games were as small as those on iOS App Store or the Android Marketplace.

But next-gen games are filling whole 25Gb blu-ray disks. Are they seriously asking punters to sit there and wait for their console to download 25Gb of content over their ADSL connection? What about people who use mobile broadband? Or those who have cheaper ADSL with a download cap?

People really don't think these things through.

1
0

Re: What about download limits?

I have purchased nearly all my PC games in this manner. Most PC gamers are the same.

We seem to be able to deal with all the big AAA titles - which are never big enough to fill a Blu-Ray disk.

1
0
FAIL

Re: What about download limits?

Exactly what I was thinking...this is going to go over very poorly here in Canada, the land of perpetual low download limits and 4th World internet accessibility. The Ruling Cartels are going to love it, though.

0
0

Re: What about download limits?

the answer is compression, if it has to be streamed in realtime off a disc, it can't be that compressed. If you're going to download it, it can be compressed and then expanded on your drive

1
2

It's not about selling memory cards

I think that when they by 'removable solid state storage' they don't mean memory cards or cartidges. What they are talking about is a a low capacity SSD (it will need to be >50gig so a memory stick no longer cuts it) that you can remove from the console and take to a shop to 'download' your game if your internet connection is slow.

1
0
Gold badge
Thumb Down

Re: It's not about selling memory cards

"...it will need to be >50gig so a memory stick no longer cuts it...."

Er, why? The current Xbox manages quite well with only a DVD drive (max 9Gb) and yet sports many, if not most, of the same titles seen elsewhere. Games distributed on BD are rattling around in there like peas in a submarine. Ok you may be a bit light on the hours of glorious, "look how clever we are", 1080p cutscenes that the PS3 format is justly famous for, but if I'd wanted to watch a movie, I'd have bought a bloody movie rather than a game.

I'd have thought a 16 or 32Gb SD card should be OK for the near future, larger sizes are already available and bigger ones are appearing all the time.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not about selling memory cards

XBox games are only 6GB, they rest is wasted on software encryption sectors.

Thats why multiplatform games and Xbox exclusives are usually shit.

1
1

Optional Optical?

Perhaps MS will offer an optical drive as an add on you could buy like they did with HD DVD Drives when the 360 came out?

0
0
Thumb Up

Re: Optional Optical?

I suspect you're right. Will bring the unit cost of the new console down, but allow people who want to use it as a "media centre" to do so if they want their media centres to play their blu-rays and DVDs.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Good riddance. Optical media died quite a few years ago with fast broadband for me.

Saying that, I've always missed the cartridge format on the bigger consoles, I may consider paying extra for near instant loading times and a box with nice artwork. Although I've yet to see a format come close to the Japanese SNES for artwork on boxes. Perhaps having something to collect Is one of the appeals of retro gaming.

1
5

Please let this be true.

If it is, I'll be dancing on the grave of optical media.

I forsee being able to send existing 360 games in the post to Microsoft so they will license me to download them through Live to my SSD.

I've been waiting so long for console manufacturers to get back to ROM style usage, rather than these utterly shite unreliable optical discs.

1
3
Silver badge

Send a disc to MS for a licence?

You mad?

They will expect you to buy it again.

And again, and again.

In their world you never owned a copy in the first place.

This is purely a way to shut down the second-hand market completely and being able to lend a game to your friends and relatives, ensuring that everybody pays full price.

At least with PC gaming you have the choice to avoid Steam etc.

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

I think this is unlikely to be the case, personally. I know Steam is a big deal, but I don't believe the console market is ready for this, not in the UK anyway. Too many people have crap internet or take games round their mates' houses.

MS have been very smart in the console market, if this is true I would be very worried they'd blown it.

0
0

Bandwidth issues...

This is what they call progress? Some of my clients have issues with their board-band, e.g. people living in the villages and the country dont have any board-band worth talking about.

BT wont speed them up until cable (Virgin) reaches them, e.g. Battlefield is unplayable out there, downloads take overnight if it dose not time out, and its the same with most network games, so how are they going to make progress or watch the city make progress lol. Sorry Game but its been a good run...

4
0
Thumb Up

Very welcome news. Optical discs were essentially designed for streaming, whereas games also require high IO bandwidth and random access.

The widespread adoption of disc media in consoles was partly for the low cost per GB, but also Sony's larger agenda of using it to push adoption of first DVD and then Bluray formats. The engineers behind the original PS1 saw the CD as a medium that would load the game and then only be used afterwards for video and background music. Of course games quickly grew and in many cases we've endured crushingly dull load times.

If the intention is to use some form of PROM/cartridge at retail, the per GB is more than fine at the price point of console games. The only drawback would be what it means for backward compatibility. Cartridges don't themselves restrict the availability of a second hand marker, and the ability to do that with discs via unique serialisation has been around for a few years.

0
2
Thumb Up

Very welcome news. Optical discs were essentially designed for streaming, whereas games also require high IO bandwidth and random access.

The widespread adoption of disc media in console was partly for the low cost per GB, but also Sony's larger agenda of using it to push adoption of first DVD and then Bluray formats. The engineers behind the original PS1 saw the CD as a medium that would load the game and then only be used afterwards for video and background music. Of course games quickly grew and in many cases we've endured crushingly dull load times.

If the intention is to use some form of PROM/cartridge at retail, the per GB is more than fine at the price point of console games. The only drawback would be what it means for backward compatibility. Cartridges don't themselves restrict the availability of a second hand marker, and the ability to do that with discs via unique serialisation has been around for a few years.

0
2
Thumb Up

Click refresh before you repost!

0
0
Pirate

Back to the VIC-20 and GORF then?

Which was MY first experience of cartridges, although I think the Atari console had them before that....

How long before the cartridges are read and shared as ROMS?

Because that hasn't happened on other cartridge based system has it?

Apart from the Sega Master, Genesis, SNES, DS add others you can think of below

2
0
Silver badge
Stop

Missing some points here.

When I go into Game and look at the second hand games 95% of them are trash titles that should never have been launched in the first place. For every AAA title you may find there will be 50 Z list titles around it.

So in the long run it may mean the second hand game market dries up a little but it could also mean that if folks are more choosy about what they buy (as it seems by the second hand racks a lot of people buy crappy games a lot) then the games developers are going to have to make sure their titles are the ones people are going to really want to buy.

So it may mean less games released a year but the quality could improve a lot more. I'm all for that.

As for doing away with optical media I'm 50/50 on this. I knew there was a good chance that MS would rather die than out a BD drive in a Xbox but they could have used a modified HD-DVD drive as the tech was theirs and I bet there is still a warehouse in eastern Europe somewhere full of old HD-DVD drives that are bought and paid for.

I still use my 360 as my main DVD drive but I have never played an audio CD in it. Not really suitable. I've always fancied going back to cartridges since the days of my Morrowind DVD constantly playing up on my original Xbox.

0
0

Cartridges were better but not indestructible, who remebers blowing wildly into the bottom of a cartridge to bring it back to life?

Downloadable content is a nightmare for me if MS do this my connection is ok considering I live in the country but its unreliable so if MS do do this they'll need to ensure they include a download manager by default. Someone down the road to me who has a young family get only get half a meg on their up to 8 meg line so they wont be able to download anything.

As long as cart's are the new medium or they stick with dvd/BD then I'll be quite happy, download only means I'll be playing my 360 for many years until fibre broadband makes an apperance in our area (I dont think I'll live that long).

0
0
Pint

Media woes!?!

Or they just might supply them on physical media too.

Unless the console has a massive HHD inside, where else are you going to store all those games? Oh, on the cards they were supplied with... Maybe...

1
0
Thumb Up

Sounds good to me!

I don't see this as a big deal. Sure, not everyone has great Internet access, but you will still have the solid state memory option. And this won't necesarily lock out the brick and mortar: Maybe the solid state option will be a buy-once option where you take YOUR memory card to the store and it copies the purchased game to your memory then delivers the key to your Live account. With USB 3 and other competing high-speed data transfer options the wait at the store would not be prohibitive. Hell, maybe you can use the same distro method for movies, etc. RedBox as a Xbox distrobution outlet? Sounds doable!

0
0

Nah

The 720 will have an optical drive.

But the 1440 probably won't.

And broadband will be a utility by then.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: Nah

Isnt it a utility already?

I wouldnt think of buying a property with less than 4Mb of reasonable latency broadband.

I'd really want 8Mb as a usable level.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

A Console for the future

People seem to be assuming that Microsoft are building this console for today. Xbox 360 / PS3 have a projected lifespan of 10 years, in those 10 years broadband has come along significantly. We've gone from 2-3 Mb/s being considered "high speed" to 300 mb/s to be offered by virgin shortly.

Companies over the next few years will be rolling out bigger speeds and eventually more and more of the country will fall into the catchment areas for these speeds.

Prediction: If this goes ahead lovefilm will expand their rental service to include games via online. Rent a game with some form of DRM license that "expires" when you "send it back" and can instantly download a new game there and then - eliminates waiting for the posty + lost discs.

This is how technology progresses, those who are moaning about download speeds are clearly thinking about this console and how it would function TODAY. In 3 years when Sony release the PS4 without an optical drive they'll be playing catch up.

VERY smart move from MS.

0
4
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018