One of the big questions in the run-up to the Xbox One's announcement was whether Microsoft would drop the disc drive. Back in March 2012, for instance, Epic's Tim Sweeney suggested that a disc-less Xbox One that runs all games on solid state media would have "a dramatic advantage", though he qualified that this is "a completely separate question" from how games are distributed.
Speaking to OXM in our latest issue, Microsoft Studios boss Phil Spencer has revealed that the idea of a "purely disc-less console" was considered as late as mid 2013, following a strong E3 showing for the manufacturer.
"Obviously, after the announcement and E3, there was some feedback about what people wanted to change," he explained. "There was a real discussion about whether we should have an optical disc drive in Xbox One or if we could get away with a purely disc-less console, but when you start looking at bandwidth and game size, it does create issues.
"So we decided - which I think was the right decision - to go with the Blu-ray drive and give the people an easy way to install a lot of content. From some of those original thoughts, you saw a lot of us really focusing on the digital ecosystem you see on other devices - thinking of and building around that."
It's likely the discussion had something to do with the Xbox One's original, controversial 24-hour online check-in requirement. Chief marketing and strategy officer Yusuf Mehdi argued in June that this policy "would be easier to understand" in the absence of a disc drive, as customers don't feel that they "own" digital games in the same way that they own physical games.
Aoife summarised the pros and cons of digital and disc-based distribution in a feature over the summer. Now that the Xbox One is on the market, what's your take on the idea?
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