Microsoft hasn't exactly been coy about the fact it would rather see physical media wiped from existence. The company's frequent forays into cloud streaming and almost constant pushing of Xbox Game Pass shows that it clearly believes the future of the games industry is the idea of "play anywhere", and you can't exactly crack out a physical game disc and pop it in your phone while you're on the bus.
It's been attempting to bring forth the all-digital age for quite a while (remember the Xbox One's launch anyone?), and the latest proof is the plan for an all-digital Xbox Series X refresh that was leaked via court documents earlier this week. According to the document, Microsoft has apparently been working on a new Series X with up to 2TB of storage and no disc drive to be seen. It also claims that this new Series X is going to release next October, bringing us one step closer to the all-digital future it so desires.
Unfortunately for Xbox, not everyone wants to see physical media go the way of the dodo. Upon the reveal of this machine, fans have been voicing their concerns over the potential death of physical media and video game preservation. This was made evident by a recent post on the Xbox subreddit, as fans have been arguing over the pros and cons of the company going all-digital.
One of the more common arguments against it is that forcing users to use a single storefront is bad for everyone. PC went all-digital a while back, but the platform includes several different storefronts that provides Steam with competition, something that would be non-existant if Xbox does go all-digital. You either buys games from the Xbox storefront or not at all, and some are worried that's a system ripe for exploitation. Others complain about the lack of game ownership, the death of rentals, and more.
On the other side, fans are arguing that the majority of people won't care about physical media dying off in the slightest. The majority of games sales are digital anyway, and you'll struggle to find a casual gamer that owns more than just one game that they play for a long time, like FIFA, Call of Duty, Final Fantasy 14, and more. It's obviously not an argument in favour of the inevitable all-digital future, rather a statement of fact.
Either way, this is probably going to happen whether we like it or not. A lot of people will have to be dragged kicking and screaming, but Xbox at the very least has plans to bring about the all-digital age as soon as possible. Whether PlayStation or Nintendo joins them is another matter entirely.
Related Forum: Xbox Forum