Rumors are flying today after trade publication MCV came out saying that Microsoft is dropping disc technology in favor of solid state media for their upcoming console. This isn't the first transition by a console maker to new technology, since the PS Vita uses solid state flash cards for their game cartridges, but that's not where the controversy begins. According to Gamesindustry.biz, the problem isn't that Xbox is going solid state, it's that MCV hinted at the complete lack of retail boxes for Microsoft games.
These things can happen when you're reporting on a rumor, and are eager to get your information out so that you can scoop the competition. Sometimes though, the waters get muddied intentionally. The MCV article seems to be falling into the second category, when it says "The omission of a disc drive signifies the beginning of a new era for games consoles and represents a potentially savage blow to the already beleaguered video games retail sector." No where does a move to solid state media indicate the death of retail, and it seems a shame to even approach the subject with such alarmist rhetoric, but overblown statements equal readership, and in this case, coverage.
As I see it, The move away from discs is alarming in a completely different way. It means, in short, a completely lack of backwards compatibility with Xbox and Xbox 360 titles, which leaves the player base sort of high and dry when it comes to the game libraries they've already amassed. We've seen PS Vita rereleases of older titles already, but how would one be able to play games on the new console due out this year, with some of those games just coming out this Spring and Summer? Let's focus on that conversation, and leave the theatrics for Penn and Teller, shall we?
[image via Gaming Entertainment]