It has been 1 week since Microsoft has announced the new Xbox One S All Digital. Time for us to sit down and evaluate what this new approach may actually mean to all console fans. We are not talking specs here, we're talking evolution.
A digital revolution
There is no doubt we are in the middle of the digital era of video games. After the major brands got the online gaming experience right, they quickly moved on to deploy fully downloadable games, followed by DLC’s and today you can get any imaginable gimmick directly from your couch at home. The Xbox One S All digital seems like the result of this evolution.
No disc drive?
Let’s go back to 2008 when Apple announced the first MacBook Air. Today this style of ultra-thin notebook is nothing really special anymore but back then it was more than impressive. The only thing that struck people as a surprise and a huge inconvenience was that It did not have a disc drive…
10 years later we know how this discussion ended. It ended with no disc drives…and even more than that. It ended the realization that we don’t need them. Apple notebooks that came after the MacBook Air also discontinued the disc drive and were broadly positively accepted – even their desktop model (the iMac) does not have discs anymore. Same applies to almost every other laptop manufacturer.
Generation Y vs. Generation X
During the same time period the Smartphone found the way into our lives and enabled us to download and play all the beautiful games from the App Store. No need to walk into a store, and as far as we personally remember no outcry that Appstore content was not buyable in stores.
The reason why we are going in so much detail here is for our readers to understand that the younger crowd may have a completely different view when it comes to ALL DIGITAL content. Gen X Kids from the 2000’s might fall in love with the new Xbox, while the 30ish Gen Y from the 90’s might hate it.
Concluding the above one could say that consoles are “late to the party”. However, this is not really true. While this was not the case with laptops and smartphones, many video game fans take this decision personal. A great number of people that enjoy video games are also interested in the actual hardware. Video game companies know this; hence they release many limited edition consoles, controllers and games knowing that even people that might already have an item may buy another variation just for the looksies.
Introducing a system that can do completely without physical games alienates gamers and collectors that like to have shelfs with their personal game collections or even massive game rooms. We at consolevariations know all about this. What Microsoft has done here may quite well be the future, but surely it is also a huge risk when taking classic gamers into account.
We make posts about great consoles on Facebook almost daily. Usually reactions tend to be like this one with many loves, likes and amusement. When we made the announcement post for the ALL DIGITAL Xbox the reception was very clear.
Now the biggest part of our fans are between age 26-35 so we can quite clearly say that the general reception was not good at all. Although we also got some comments that welcomed this idea the majority almost found it laughable. Here are some of the most meaningful comments:
So why did they make it?
We are assuming that Microsoft saw these reactions coming but still took the shot to catch the younger audience (after all you still have a choice). Also, it is the future and it might not be bad to position yourself in it as a company. And who knows what Google and other companies has up their sleeve regarding a digital gaming experience.
We are keeping a neutral stance towards the Xbox One S ALL DIGITAL. Why? Because they are still giving us a new console. Possibly with many more limited editions and colors to come and that’s what we are all about. As far as we are concerned Microsoft could have compressed all the functionalities into a tiny box with a 3 Terabyte hard drive to give the same experience. But they did not do that, they actually gave us a new console along with a choice.
While we will surely continue to collect our games and squeeze them into shelves, others can take a different approach. The important thing is that we are all still playing on a video game console. There was nothing pulled out of the hat here that would truly un-identify us as console gamers.