The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will come pre-loaded with “Minecraft,” “Forza Horizon 3,” and “Sea of Thieves,” and feature all of the same specs as the Xbox One S — which means a 1TB hard drive — barring an HD Blu-Ray player. The system launches on May 7 for $249.99, which is $50 less than the Xbox One S.
“The Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is about providing choice,” Jeff Gattis, general manager of platform and devices marketing at Microsoft, said in a prepared statement. “As with anything we work on, our customers are at the center of our product development process and general consumer behavior suggests there’s a strong appetite for digital experiences today. We think of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition as an option that caters to audiences who prefer to find and play their games digitally. We’re not looking to push customers toward digital; it’s about meeting the needs of customers that are digital natives that prefer digital-based media and providing value with the most affordable Xbox One console.”
Gattis added that a digital-only version of the Xbox One is not a reflection of Microsoft’s support of physical stores and retailers.
“Retailers play a critical role in the ecosystem of delivering physical hardware and software and digital codes for digital games and subscriptions,” Gattis said. “We work closely with retailers to ensure that our products are mutually beneficial for our business and theirs and in general, retailer reception to the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition has been positive so we’re pleased to be able to provide a variety of choice to meet our customers’ needs, whether they’re looking to purchase this new all-digital console or digital content cards at a physical retail store.”
The new model comes as the Xbox One approaches a six year anniversary in November. New, lower-cost, versions of a game console often roll out as the system ages and nears the point when a new system is released. With the Xbox 360, Microsoft released its S version about three years before the release of the Xbox One. The Xbox 360 E — the last iteration of the 360 — came less than six months before the release of the Xbox One.
“The benefits of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition is that it offers value and choice to customers that prefer the conveniences of an all-digital library,” Gattis said. “Given this is the first product of its kind, it will teach us things we don’t already know about customer preferences around digital and will allow us to refine those experiences in the future. We see this as a step forward in extending our offerings beyond the core console gamer and continuing our journey to reach more than 2 billion gamers worldwide.”
The news comes the same day that Sony Interactive Entertainment provided some early details on its next-gen PlayStation, which the company said won’t be coming out in 2019.
That console will have improved CPU and GPU as well as better audio and a high-speed SDD disk drive designed to remove a bottleneck that was slowing modern console gaming down.