When the Xbox One was revealed back in 2013, Microsoft envisioned a future in which digital downloads would rule the day, and discs would be little more than vessels to install the game, essentially assigning ‘rights to you’. Paul Tassi, a Forbes Contributor discusses in his piece why this vision might have been better for all of us.

The Division Xbox One Box Art

In the article, Tassi makes some rather privileged assumptions about video game players: that most have internet connections with extremely high speeds and no data caps when he says “With discs taking almost as long to install as digital downloads…” This is the same mistake made by Microsoft, and during the infamous Adam Orth scandal.

Back then, while stealthily promoting the upcoming Xbox One console, Orth had dismissively asked a friend why he would live in a place with limited Internet connectivity. It’s been nearly three years since, and it seems a few people continue to think the way he did then.

Another point Tassi misses entirely, that was roundly mocked by Sony shortly after their E3 conference in 2013, is a culture of digital downloads does not allow you to lend or borrow game discs anymore. Granted, with more and more games requiring online servers and activation, it seems less likely that this is a thing discs have a monopoly on. But it certainly is not a problem consoles have solved yet (on the PC, Steam has something of a solution with Steam Family Sharing, and even that can be disabled by publishers as per their whims).

What do you think about Tassi’s article? Is the age of physical disc-based media gone? Let us know in the comments below.

  • AS118

    Nah, the disc drive is still a killer feature, especially in areas with slow internet, particularly slow internet with data caps, or just internet with data caps in general, regardless of speed.

    Plus, it makes it easy to rent a game from Redbox to try it out. Physical still has its place, and I doubt that Digital will ever fully displace it. Will it be reduced in importance? Sure, but I don’t think it’ll go away.

    In fact, if X-box had gone without a Disc, and the PS4 had kept the disc, the PS4 would’ve beat the Xbox even harder. Plug and play simplicity along with easy use of discs and disc rentals (and disc sales) are some of the standout features of consoles, and one of the reasons I always get at least one console alongside my gaming PC.

  • Steve

    Iv had my xboxone since day one and never put any disk game in the drive all I wish is that you could trade digital games in for Microsoft points.