Skip to main content

Microsoft could be making a cheaper Xbox Scarlett without a disc drive

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, a console that was identical to the standard Xbox One S in every way with the exception of an omitted disc drive. It appears ditching discs could be a strategy Microsoft uses going forward as the company is reportedly making a less-expensive and all-digital Xbox Scarlett as an alternative to its more powerful version.

According to Kotaku, Microsoft is still planning to release two versions of its Xbox Project Scarlett machine, which we had heard rumors about prior to E3 in June. Those died down as Microsoft emphasized that it was launching one machine, but this is apparently not the case.

The less-expensive Project Scarlett system will not include a disc drive and will feature power more akin to the PlayStation 4 Pro, but will be capable of hitting higher framerates. It likely won’t be capable of consistent 4K visuals, unlike the more powerful system we’ve heard is internally called “Anaconda.”

Xbox Project Scarlett - E3 2019 - Reveal Trailer

Releasing a less-expensive and less-powerful version of a next-generation console seems like an odd move at the start of its lifespan, but Microsoft isn’t just relying on its system’s hardware for games. Its Project xCloud game-streaming service means that those who buy the less-powerful Xbox Scarlett system can stream games to their console and take advantage of Microsoft’s own servers to run them. Those with the more powerful machine will have less incentive to do this when they’re at home, as they won’t have to use any data in order to consistently hit higher resolutions and framerates on their machine.

One major downside that will come with choosing a disc-free Xbox Scarlett system is that you won’t be able to fully take advantage of the console’s backward compatibility. The console will be backward compatible with all Xbox One games, as well as a selection of 360 and original Xbox games. If you own these games on disc, you’ll not be able to play them on the disc-free system and will have to keep your Xbox One out on your shelf.

The Xbox Scarlett is scheduled to arrive for the holidays in 2020. It’s unclear if both versions will launch together.

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
Microsoft to pay $20M over Xbox child privacy violations
Microsoft signage at the Meridian Building (formerly CompuWare) in Detroit, Michigan.

Microsoft has agreed to pay $20 million to U.S. regulators for violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The breach involved the computer giant collecting and retaining personal information from children who set up an Xbox account prior to obtaining permission from their parents.

Read more
Microsoft pledges to bring Xbox PC games to Nvidia GeForce Now
geforce-now-og-no-text-1200x630

Microsoft has announced a 10-year partnership with Nvidia aimed at bringing Xbox PC games to its cloud gaming service competitor Nvidia GeForce Now as part of its ongoing efforts to win over companies skeptical of its potebtial Activision Blizzard acquisition.
This means that players can use Nvidia GeForce Now to play the Steam, Epic Games Store, or Windows versions of titles like Halo Infinite, Redfall, and eventually, Call of Duty through the cloud on GeForce Now. Third-party publishers with games on the Windows Store can also now grant streaming rights to Nvidia. This announcement came during a European Commission hearing where Microsoft tried to convince regulators that its impending acquisition should bne allowed.
Microsoft has been under a lot of regulatory scrutiny even since it announced its intent to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022. It's trying to win over industry peers with deals like this one with Nvidia. This week, the Communications Workers of America voiced its approval of the deal, and Microsoft has signed a binding agreement to bring Call of Duty to Nintendo platforms as well. Previously, Nvidia had raised concerns about Microsoft's Activision Blizzard acquisition, but the press release announcing this agreement states that the deal "resolves Nvidia's concerns," and that Nvidia now gives "full support for regulatory approval of the acquisition." 
Regulatory bodies in the U.S., U.K., and Europe are worried that Microsoft acquiring Activision Blizzard will hurt the game industry and sabotage Microsoft's competitors in both console and cloud gaming. Nvidia GeForce Now is seen as one of the biggest competitors to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate's cloud service offerings, which makes it surprising that it reached an agreement with Nvidia. However, this deal also demonstrates how Microsoft is willing to make concessions so that its acquisition of Activision Blizzard is approved.

Read more
Here’s what E3 2023 could look like without Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft
Playstation character wall at E3 2018

Let's start with the good news: E3 2023 will be held in its in-person format once again after three long years of digital events necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, this time with ReedPop at the helm. The bad news is that Sony, Xbox, and Nintendo -- gaming's "Big 3" -- may not show up at the industry’s biggest convention this summer.

This is according to a report from IGN citing multiple sources, who claimed the companies won’t be a part of the show or make appearances on the floor at the Los Angeles Convention Center in any way. Their absence from this year’s E3, especially Nintendo’s, may come as a shock to the gaming community, but it's not such a surprise when looking at the past few iterations of E3. Even before the pandemic locked everyone down in 2020, Sony and Xbox had been hosting their own E3-style livestreams, so it was more likely they would do it again this year anyway. Nintendo, on the other hand, managed to show off its upcoming games via Nintendo Direct streams and at its booth, console kiosks and all.

Read more