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View Full Version : Another Step Toward Losing Our Freedoms: Disc-less "Xbox One S All-Digital Edition"



Nz17
03-15-2019, 06:43 AM
Microsoft is planning to launch its first games console without an optical drive, and will do so as soon as next month, according to a new report.

Windows Central sources says the disc-less machine will be called the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition will be available for pre-order next month. This is the rumoured console previously known under the codename Marverick, according to the report, with sales set to commence in early May, in all existing markets.

That would place a launch well ahead of the E3 show in June, where many folks expected Microsoft to unleash the new disc-less Xbox console, ahead of a release later in 2019.

There’s no word yet on how much this digital-only version of the console will set back gamers, but presuming there’s no considerable power or specs boost here, we might be able to expect a cheaper starting price.

One of the main selling points for the Xbox One S was the presence of the optical drive offering compatibility with 4K Blu-ray discs. An absence of this would significantly bring down the cost of building the console.

Microsoft would use the console to push its Xbox Games Pass subscription service, which offers access to over 100 Xbox games. Meanwhile, the wider Project xCloud streaming service is likely to begin public trials later this year.

The cloud-based technology is set to be available on a much wider range of devices, but a dedicated machine from Microsoft, complete with the official controllers, would be preferable for some users seeking familiarity as they embark upon the cloud-based future of gaming.

A dark future indeed. I've known for years that Microsoft has wanted the Xbox's to be disc-less and always-connected to the Internet. (Read: "Damn filthy pirates, the lot of you!") Previously they didn't launch consoles with these requirements due to the poor quality of Internet connectivity in much of the world and outcry from the gaming community. (See their backtracking over the always-connected requirement for Xbox One which was upgraded to "only" having to be on the Internet at least once per week.) Well, I guess worldwide Internet connectivity has improved enough or Microsoft's greed and power-hungriness has increased enough for them to now launch this monstrosity.

I suppose when Microsoft disconnects the Xbox One servers just like it disconnected the original Xbox servers and no-one can phone Microsoft for permission to run software, all the Xbox One things will be practically worthless. I guess the upside is that this blasphemous console, the "Xbox One S All-Digital Edition," at least won't fill up a whole corner of a landfill with both worthless discs + cases and their worthless hardware, just the console and controllers. I suppose at least the old cases could be used for keeping safe the useful discs for other platforms. And the nearly worthless Xbox One paraphernalia will be cheap to collect for the completionist collectors.

Over time the game companies have instituted regional lock-out, increased costs with price-fixing, removed printed manuals, increased their game prices by selling part up front and part as DLC, increased the amount of DRM in hardware and software to restrict user's abilities more and more, removed useful features which were once included as part of the console's offerings, track and surveil users as part of their telemetry and analyses, and diminished the number of games which get physical releases to control distribution and pricing which in turn removes the users' abilities to buy, sell, and trade with whomever they please for prices they themselves set or the free market sets. So I just don't understand why anyone would want to play the meta-game which companies like Microsoft are playing when they could choose the freedom of retro games and/or DRM-free computer games. I guess marketing campaigns are really just that powerful.

I mean, if you are going to put up with frequent updates and DRM, then at least go with Steam: the sale, holiday, and regular asking prices are far cheaper than what is offered by the console-makers; and at the end of the day, your hardware and peripherals are still functional this year and for many years yet with no artificial end-of-life in their future.

Source: https://www.trustedreviews.com/news/gaming/xbox-one-s-all-digital-no-disc-3670793

Aussie2B
03-15-2019, 08:36 AM
It's not really any different from the PSP Go, which came out nearly a decade ago. It's part of a tradition of cutting out nonessential aspects of hardware to offer a budget version of a system near its death. I wouldn't take something like this as a particularly bad sign until a system actually launches as digital-only.

Gameguy
03-15-2019, 08:59 PM
I'm basically done with modern consoles so I don't really care anymore. I won't bother buying any of these modern systems, not even 10 years from now.

gbpxl
03-16-2019, 08:05 AM
Im in the same boat of "I dont play modern consoles anyways, so Im indifferent."

I dont have Wi Fi at home so thats a big reason why I dont do modern, but just seeing how internet dependent games are, the install times, the updates, I dont see why anyone bothers

Aussie2B
03-16-2019, 08:41 AM
but just seeing how internet dependent games are, the install times, the updates, I dont see why anyone bothers

Because it's not that bad? I mean, it depends on what someone plays and how fast their internet is, but when I've got a physical game, it's usually installed in less than a minute, and even when I'm downloading and installing a digital game or downloading an update, it usually doesn't take more than 30 minutes. And after it's done, I'm good to go until if and when I decide to uninstall it. I'm sure I spend more time waiting on loading times in 90s disc-format games than I do waiting on modern games.

Zthun
03-16-2019, 05:12 PM
I went all digital PC Master Race a few years ago, so this is hardly dark news to me personally. If you are a console junky cause of the form factor, then I give you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzcrTmhOP2s&t=2886s.

At the end of the day, you will probably somehow always have access to your games. Currently, there always seems to be fear that the service gets shut off and all the money you spent will go kaput. From what I've seen, that only seems to ever happen to MMORPGS, and the only service that burned it's customers on the games was OnLive which was way ahead of the time and not truly ready. I don't think an all digital world will be as bad as a lot of people make it out to be.

gbpxl
03-16-2019, 05:34 PM
I went all digital PC Master Race a few years ago, so this is hardly dark news to me personally. If you are a console junky cause of the form factor, then I give you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzcrTmhOP2s&t=2886s.

At the end of the day, you will probably somehow always have access to your games. Currently, there always seems to be fear that the service gets shut off and all the money you spent will go kaput. From what I've seen, that only seems to ever happen to MMORPGS, and the only service that burned it's customers on the games was OnLive which was way ahead of the time and not truly ready. I don't think an all digital world will be as bad as a lot of people make it out to be.
I downloaded several Xbox Live Arcade games back in the day that I no longer can play because they pulled them from the servers.

Gameguy
03-16-2019, 06:16 PM
...but just seeing how internet dependent games are, the install times, the updates, I dont see why anyone bothers
I also feel the same way. I did download a console game once before, I received a free code for Alan Wake on the 360. It took hours to download the game for whatever reason, my memory is a bit foggy but I might have had to give up on it and download it the next night instead after hours of problems. It turned out that Microsoft had a network interruption or something that affected their downloads, I only found out about it a day or two later.

Sure that's probably not the norm but that's my personal experience with the one time I downloaded a console game from an online store. I'd put up with that hassle if games were free, but not if I were paying for them, especially if they were $60. Even $20 seems high for a download price.

Nz17
03-17-2019, 03:59 AM
I'm not afraid of an all digital future.

I'm afraid of a DRM'd future (https://www.defectivebydesign.org/), the sort of future today's companies are funneling society toward.

Look at how each successive generation of software and hardware is being locked down more and more. Compare the ease of backing up and running a SEGA CD game (which is completely legal) compared to an Xbox One game. See how much more time it is taking to "jailbreak" or root the newer computers (phones, tablets) or consoles in their various form factors. It is only because we have the tools of the past that we are able to unlock the software and hardware of the present and it keeps getting more difficult. If "breaking free" were such a given and so easy, then nobody would require instructions or tools from anybody else. But instead we have to follow ever longer guides.

Have you ever tried to remove the region locking of a 3DS and install custom firmware without resorting to ROM's or emulation? It takes nearly 100 steps and requires using a distributed GPU network to crack the encryption if you don't own a powerful enough graphics card. I went through all that just so I could run homebrew software and my "out of region" 3DS games on my American 3DS. And thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, removing those locks from my 3DS makes me and everyone whose GPU helped me to crack the code into a criminals.

Companies: "You don't want to own anything. Storing things is such a hassle. Just stream your content from us. Don't worry about a thing. It's so convenient and only costs a few dollars per month."

Pacifiers: "Don't worry, the hackers, crackers, or pirates will find a way around those locks. We won't ever lose access to anything!"

But what if you want to go through official channels? The DRM-free and easy-to-remove-DRM options have almost all disappeared. There are only a few left and I seek them out. But if you try to work around the DRM, no matter how simple, even renaming a file, that makes you a criminal in the eyes of American law and in those nations with similar laws. Removing freedoms from us to keep, store, run, preserve, or modify that which we have paid money for should be illegal, not us just trying to continue to use and enjoy what we should be able to run.

Look at all of the digital-only things which have "died" and are gone. I used to buy games from a company called Desura. It got acquired and then disappeared. Anything I hadn't downloaded disappeared with it. And it is only one of hundreds of extinct or dead games (https://delistedgames.com/extinct-list/). For every game or video or song that is preserved through one means or another, how many are lost forever?

I'm not afraid of an all digital future. I'm afraid of us losing our independence and freedom.

Aussie2B
03-17-2019, 08:49 AM
The problem is that those who want to create backups for games they own legit or get around region locking to play legit games make up a tiny percentage of the people who hack modern hardware. The vast majority just want to pirate games, so that's why companies are so heavy-handed with locking hardware down. I'm not saying no blame lies on these companies, but a lot of blame should be laid upon the thieves in our hobby.

But on the subject of region-locking, modern hardware is actually an improvement. The norm used to be just about all home consoles were region-locked, while handhelds weren't. It sucks that Nintendo started including region-locking on their handhelds with the DSi, but that's about it when it comes to region-locking these days. This generation, the Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and Vita are all region-free.

Nz17
03-17-2019, 09:31 AM
Another thing that saddens me is that these streaming game and video services also spell the end of collecting as we know it. Yes, there will still be digital hoarders that download thousands of things from various sources, and yes there will be those who collect for older platforms. But a wall full of... PS8 generation games in cardboard / plastic cases with printed color manuals and functioning controllers and consoles which will continue to viably work offline in 20+ years after their original release is highly unlikely unlike, say, almost everything released before 2001.

I guess that a digital-only, one-company-store, downloads-only future will stop the software scalpers. But when the games disappear from those future company stores, then they really will disappear. Even remote deletion of copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four happened a few years ago with Amazon's eBook service due to a copyright claim. And games have been "disappeared" from services like Steam for political reasons. (See the story about "Devotion (https://delistedgames.com/devotion-pulled-from-steam-for-depiction-of-chinas-president/).")

kupomogli
03-17-2019, 09:22 PM
Microsoft might be releasing an all digital console and trying to push towards that direction, but with all the backlash with the release of the Xbox One, Sony and Nintendo might continue with physical releases.

While it does look worse and worse with the tactics that these AAA companies pull each new year, all you have to do is see what games are out thanks to indie devs who have a lot of passion for this industry and smaller developers who enjoy the additional funds that signing and releasing these indie games acquires them.

Now by some chance everything goes all digital, there's a silver lining. You might actually play and finish a lot of these games you've barely touched, while you'll either save most of your money, or you'll put most of it towards a vast amount of titles that you might not already own.

I'll definitely still play games once everything goes all digital, modern stuff, but I won't be purchasing anything unless I'll be immediately playing it.

Zthun
03-18-2019, 12:51 AM
I downloaded several Xbox Live Arcade games back in the day that I no longer can play because they pulled them from the servers.

According to Microsoft, they should still be available in your purchase history for redownload, even if they were pulled. If they completely wiped them, then yeah, you have to go through 'other means' to get them back. Emulators could work, but 360 and one emulators aren't really far along. A jailbreak may be your only option then.

Nz17
03-18-2019, 12:40 PM
It's not only making people install "game clients" like Steam, and Ubisoft's Uplay, and Epic's Games Launcher, and EA's Origin, and Microsoft's Games for Windows / Windows Store to be permitted to run their games; or just DRM impairing the games either. It's that we are heading toward a future where you won't even get to download the DRM'd copies of the games!

Instead, you will stream your button presses, mouse movements, key presses, and mouse clicks to the companies' servers, and in turn their servers will stream the games' audio and video to you over the Internet. That's right, there will be no local files for people to try to crack the DRM and free the programs from the DRM. Everything will be kept server-side. And if it disappears, then there is nothing that any of us can do about it.

It is even already happening in the present with Microsoft's xCloud and Sony's Gaikai. Ubisoft's CEO Yves Guillemot said that streamed games will replace consoles some time in the next ten years, and EA has announced its own cloud streaming service.

I won't be surprised if Google's announcement on Tuesday is of a "cloud game streaming service" too.

https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/13/18263405/microsoft-xcloud-game-streaming-demo-video
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2018/06/microsoft-developing-next-gen-xbox-console-with-streaming-if-you-dont-want-one/

Gameguy
03-18-2019, 08:36 PM
There's already enough games to play in existence, more than anyone can play through in their whole life. If acquiring new games becomes a complete hassle I can easily do without them. I'll gladly stick to older games or even focus more on movies, music, and books.

Think of all the games that are set to come out later this year, next year, and beyond. Currently none of those games are playable or even exist. Are you currently able to live your life without misery? It's all just a hobby.

Zthun
03-18-2019, 10:50 PM
There's already enough games to play in existence, more than anyone can play through in their whole life. If acquiring new games becomes a complete hassle I can easily do without them. I'll gladly stick to older games or even focus more on movies, music, and books.

Think of all the games that are set to come out later this year, next year, and beyond. Currently none of those games are playable or even exist. Are you currently able to live your life without misery? It's all just a hobby.

The funny thing is I looked at my steam library 2 days ago and came to the same conclusion. If I never bought another game for 30+ years I would be completely occupied with my current lineup.

Aussie2B
03-19-2019, 08:23 AM
I probably already own enough games to last a lifetime, and I don't feel like my collection is lacking, but I'd rather enjoy the hobby to the fullest I can rather than restricting myself in some way. There may be tons of games in general, but when when you look at specific genres and styles, you can definitely run out. As it is, I'm bummed that I've beaten all the games in the Mega Man Legends and Little Tail Bronx franchises, and while those two franchises have similarities, there are few other games that give me the same kind of feel. If I ruled out modern gaming, I wouldn't even have Fuga in the Battlefield to look forward to. Otome is another genre I really love, and they were barely getting localized before 2012. If I stopped buying new releases in that genre, I would definitely run out of English otome games to play eventually, and visual novels aren't really the types of games you replay over and over. So while I predominantly play retro games and strongly prefer owning games physically, I will happily buy and play modern games, even digital-only ones, when they offer me experiences that retro and/or physical games can't or offer in limited quantities.

mkenyon2
03-19-2019, 08:48 AM
I have no fear of a digital future... if it's done right.

I've never had a steam game that suddenly stopped working because they pulled it. I've been able to get older games (Monkey Island and Sierra collections) that I had missed, that still work on my new(ish) PC. If I replace or upgrade my PC, the games come with me.

But I have a Wii, and XBox (original), and PS2 copy of FF XI that are orphaned now. I have digital purchases on my Wii, that I can't use on my 2DS even though those games may be available there.

I had hoped with the 'classic' devices, they'd be web enabled, so that you could access a large catalog of games. But a fixed device with a limited game set?

I love collecting the physical things we use to play games. But I also appreciate the efficiency of digital games the way Steam does it. If a game company (ie. Nintendo) had one store that catered to their users and crossed devices, I think it would benefit the end user and maybe even win users. But then, they wouldn't be able to sell me 12 different licenses for Super Mario Bros. 3. (Seriously! How many times have I paid for that game! :eek 2: )

Aussie2B
03-19-2019, 10:35 AM
Nintendo definitely needs to step it up. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how PSN works. I like that the games are tied to a cross-platform account, rather than to an individual piece of hardware, and how many of the games can be played on multiple Sony platforms.

kupomogli
03-20-2019, 04:50 AM
Nintendo is always a generation behind, maybe they might be a generation behind on streaming as well. When everyone buys Nintendo whatever because it's the only retail console, console publishers might see the light and rerelease their digital only consoles with disc drives after the fact.