Wow, what a day to be an Xbox fan, huh? The leak-a-palooza of documents coming out of the Microsoft vs FTC court case without any sort of redaction is opening a lot of eyes. One of the more interesting, and closer to happening, leaks concerns 'Brooklin', aka the mid-cycle Xbox Series X refresh.
It looks like an Xbox One to Xbox One S type refresh, in that the performance will be staying the same, but it'll be a little smaller, more efficient and have a few new hardware features to boast about.
But it also doesn't have a disc drive, according to the leaks. And whatever else it offers, without this one feature, it is dead to me.
It's cheaper to buy physical games most of the time
Massive Xbox leak
It's a sad fact that one day, the physical game disc will be a dinosaur. Extinct and nothing but a memory. Lots will disagree with me, but I love physical games. I like being able to actually feel like I own the thing I've just spent money on. But I also like the ability to just spend less money on games.
Going digital only, you're at the mercy of the holders of the key to the kingdom, and prices are almost always higher than at retailers like Amazon for longer. Take this example.
Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy has been out for a couple of years now. On Amazon, in the UK, you can buy a copy of this game for £16.99 at the time of writing. On the Xbox Store, it's £59.99.
I bought the digital only PS5 when it launched, and I've fallen massively out of love with it. And that's mostly because games are so damned expensive. I don't have the ability to snap up cheaper physical copies anymore, so I just ultimately stopped buying anything for it. I'm actually planning to replace it for the full-sized version with the disc drive. I can't cope anymore.
No way to play old physical games without a disc drive
Here's the other big issue I have with a digital only Xbox. Since I bought my first Xbox One console back in 2014 I've amassed a sizeable collection of games. Granted, I have a lot that are digital, but I have a whole heap of physical copies, too. With no way to transfer a license for these to a digital game, I can't play them anymore without a drive to put them in.
Some of these games I still haven't played once. I still have a sealed copy of the Tony Hawk remaster! I can't share these games with my son, either, since he can't play them on his Series S. And trust me, he wants to play Minecraft Story Mode a lot.
This is one of the issues I fell into with my transition from PS4 to all digital PS5, too. All the physical PS4 games I'd built up over the years were now worthless without keeping an old console around. Rebuying games you already own is a stupid way to have to spend your money.
So, to recap. If Brooklin does indeed turn out like the leaks, I'll be skipping it. I've tried going all digital, and it just doesn't work for me. If the next-gen Xbox is digital only, then Microsoft better kill backward compatibility and give me a solid reason to have to keep two consoles around.