The follow-up to the Xbox 360 is due out next year – and the machine will no longer have a disc drive, according to a source within Microsoft.
Instead, games will download to the hi-tech new console, or gamers can carry them on a memory card.
No exact release date has been revealed, but the leak lends weight to the rumor that Microsoft may show off the new Xbox at the games industry conference E3 in Los Angeles in May.
The 2013 launch date is reportedly ‘confirmed’.
Nintendo will show off its ‘next-generation’ Wii U at the same conference.
The new Wii U console is said to be twice as powerful as Xbox 360, and Nintendo has already shown off ia tablet-style controller with a built-in screen.
Microsoft is reportedly briefing game industry partners with information about its own machine.
The lack of a disc drive is not surprising. Microsoft already sells a huge amount of games via its Xbox Live internet service and offers web-TV and downloadable films via services built into Xbox Live.
The Gaming industry trade magazine MCV reported the leak from an unnamed source, who claimed the information was covered by a strict non-disclosure agreement.
“Although the console will not include a disc drive, it will offer compatibility with some sort of interchangeable solid-state card storage. It is not yet known whether this will be proprietary or a more standard format such as SD,” said MCV’s Ben Parfitt.
Companies that thrive on the sale of new and used discs, such as Gamestop, will most certainly suffer greatly.
One of the benefits of video game discs is being able to trade them in for credit toward a new or used game. Without that perk, this new system may make gaming a more expensive proposition.