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Xbox Project Scarlett will have a disk drive, won't abandon physical media

Xbox Project Scarlett will have a disk drive, won't abandon physical media
©Microsoft

If you were concerned that the Xbox One S All-Digital was a sign of things to come, relax – Xbox chief Phil Spencer has confirmed that the upcoming next generation console, Xbox Project Scarlett, will include a disc drive. What’s more, Microsoft has no intention of going all digital anytime soon. "I want to give people choice," Spencer points out in an interview with Gameindustry.biz. "And right now physical is a choice that millions of people love."

As a result, Project Scarlett won’t force us to use digital downloads if we don’t want to. While Spencer’s comments make it clear that digital is going to have a role to play in Scarlett’s future (Gamesindustry.biz notes that Spencer “believes digital has certain advantages”), it won’t be to the detriment of discs. This echoes the sentiment laid out by Microsoft Game Studios head Matt Booty when he chatted to Eurogamer. As Booty revealed, “Scarlett will have an optical disc drive. We know people have an attachment to buying games on disc, to building a collection.” It’s comforting to hear that things won’t change all that much when buying games for the next generation of consoles.

This is a far cry from the Xbox One launch where the motion-tracking Kinect came packaged with many console bundles whether you wanted it or not. As Spencer goes on to explain, they’ve been very careful about their wording this time to avoid confusion. You can see that transparency in the way Xbox talked about backwards compatibility during yesterday’s E3 2019 conference - the teaser trailer promised that players will be able to experience “four generations of content like you’ve never seen them before”.

For more details on what makes Microsoft's next-gen system tick, be sure to take a look at our breakdown of the Xbox Project Scarlett specs.

As part of our Central Hardware Team, Benjamin looks after many of the buying guides, tech reviews, and deals you’ll see on GamesRadar+. He’s also a board game geek with credits that include PC Gamer and Metro.co.uk, so follow him on Twitter @TheWordyBen for more nerdy shenanigans.