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Letters from the Front

Microsoft is gearing up to take the next generation by storm with their recent studio acquisitions. Microsoft went on a shopping spree as of late, vastly expanding its studios and expanding its portfolio of content that they hope will entice gamers to enter the Xbox ecosystem. Microsoft is also exploring lowering the barrier into entry by spreading Xbox Live across platforms and mobile devices with Project xCloud and Xbox Game Pass. However, there is one piece of hardware that we need to sit down and talk about and that is Project Maverick and what could it mean for next generation?

Project Maverick was first outed by Thurrot, Microsoft is building a disc-less Xbox One S and should be made available by Spring 2019 and should launch alongside a disc-to-digital program that allows you to convert your physical library into digital games via participating retailers. Do you fear about whether or not this indicates a new trend for Microsoft? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

What if Project Maverick is the next step in console hardware if everything goes alright? The canary in the coal mine if you can say? Testing the waters for a full top to bottom digital console?

Think about it like this, if the next generation hardware doesn’t launch with a disc drive then Microsoft has to do a lot of explaining and that is very expensive when it comes to Marketing as you have to explain your vision to the end user who will eventually buy the thing you’re selling, there’s a lot of moving parts that needs to be explained to the every day regular Joe that plays video games but not enough to be caught up in recent events. Instead of doing that mess that may or may not result into a backlash over physical and digital games, instead, they break it apart piece by piece and start educating every day regular Joe and consumers now like the parents who barely know anything about gaming that you can buy everything digitally.

In today’s world which is heavily technology-oriented, it is a lot easier to launch hardware without a disc drive. Modern day PC’s in 2019 do not have disc drives, it could end up being a really smart move for Microsoft if they play their cards right with Project Maverick and the marketing materials for the console. If the next generation hardware does not have a disc drive, it would be the smart bet to start educating consumers now with Project Maverick and explain how you would go about it without making a big stink.

It would also prove successful to test the reaction to something major like this, Project Maverick would be the first console hardware to launch without a disc drive. If the reaction is mediocre then that would give them a more subdued approach about launching the next generation hardware without a disc drive and vice versa if the reaction was one of positivity.

If the reaction was on both sides then it wouldn’t surprise me that two versions of the next generation hardware would launch with and without a disc drive. Project Maverick is the test bed for something major like this, get the reaction and feedback to something major like this, launching without a hard drive is pretty big deal in the console space as opposed to the PC platform.

Personally, I would welcome an all-digital console as digital is the way of the future and people need to ease into that future. Retail and physical discs have been on their way out for a while now despite going at a snail’s pace but that form of media has been on its way out and I understand that a lot of people don’t welcome that which is fine. If you don’t have good internet, a good service provider, or otherwise then I can see the reason why someone would go physical and if you like physical because of the value you would get after some time then I can see why. Digital is not for everyone as it requires a lot of moving parts that not a lot of people can attend at this moment in time which will hopefully change as digital and an online future is rapidly coming.

One reason why I’m anticipating the release of Project Maverick and the outcome is because what can Microsoft do with the feedback that they’ll be getting. It gives Microsoft a chance to educate and to explain the reasoning behind launching without a disc drive, get ahead of everyone else, and see if it will be the right choice to launch the next generation of hardware without disc drives or a form of physical media.

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