Next Xbox may not include optical drive
MCV says next Xbox will only access games by download or memory card
The next version of Microsoft's Xbox console may not include an optical drive, according to UK games newsite MCV.
The site, quoting unnamed sources, said that Microsoft has been briefing partners that the console will not include a Blu-Ray or DVD drive, only an internal hard drive and support for an interchangeable solid-state card storage device.
More details were not available, but it is thought that it would mean games would only be available for direct download to the system's hard drive, or possibly on some sort of memory card.
The sources said that Microsoft has confirmed a 2013 launch date for the new console.
MCV said that the move away from making games available on disc would hit games retailers in the UK that are already struggling, and may also antagonize gamers who do not want to wait for long periods of time to download games.
It is unclear how a 'download' only approach would affect markets such as the Middle East, where bandwidth is even more expensive and less reliable than in developed markets, and where Microsoft often has not set up country-specific Xbox Live services for gamers to access downloads.
In a statement to MCV, Microsoft did not confirm or deny the rumours: "Xbox 360 has found new ways to extend its lifecycle like introducing the world to controller-free experiences with Kinect and re-inventing the console with a new dashboard and new entertainment content partnerships. We are always thinking about what is next for our platform and how to continue to defy the lifecycle convention. Beyond that we do not comment on rumors or speculation."