According to Microsoft’s Phil Spencer, The Xbox One development team actually considered ditching the disc drive in the run up to the console’s launch.
The revelations came during an in-depth interview that appears in this month’s issue of the Official Xbox Magazine. “Obviously, after the announcement and E3, there was some feedback about what people wanted to change. 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.” According to Spencer, who heads Microsoft’s in-house game development teams, the company decided to include a disc drive in the console because of “bandwidth and game size” concerns, saying:
“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.”
As the Official Xbox Magazine notes in its piece, Microsoft could have easily not included a Blu-ray drive in the Xbox One because of the company’s plans to revamp how disc-based media would work on the console.
Originally, Microsoft planned to require the complete installation of every Xbox One game, even if that game had been purchased at a retail store. That approach would have completely negated game discs and allowed Xbox One users to instantly switch between all the titles in their library without having to get off the couch.
Unfortunately, Microsoft canned the idea due to public-outrage over the DRM check-ins that would have required the Xbox One to contact Microsoft’s servers to verify ownership of games daily.