Xbox is still "supportive" of physical media, says Phil Spencer

by Danny Craig  · 
Xbox is still "supportive" of physical media, says Phil Spencer

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer has stated that the removal of physical media is not a "strategic thing" for Xbox and that it is still “supportive” of the traditional disc format.

The details:

  • Last year, a leak from Microsoft's court battle with the FTC revealed some of the company's plans for future hardware and software. This included diagrams of an all-digital refresh of the Xbox Series X, giving the console a cylindrical shape, but these documents were dismissed as out of date.

  • Speaking with Game File, Spencer declined to comment on the console refresh but did say that the company "would follow what the customers are doing," referring to the current trend of purchasing digital media. “We are supportive of physical media, but we don’t have a need to drive that disproportionate to customer demand,” he said. “We ship games physically and digitally, and we’re really just following what the customers are doing. And I think our job in running Xbox is to deliver on the things that a majority of the customers want. And right now, a majority of our customers are buying games digitally.”

  • Despite this, Spencer stated that Xbox's strategy "does not hinge on people moving all-digital" and that eliminating physical media is not a "strategic thing." The biggest issue remains the manufacturer of the drives, as there are fewer suppliers than ever.

  • As Spencer points out in the interview, most consumer electronics no longer have disc drives, with consoles being one of the few remaining devices that provide a non-digital alternative to content ownership. This generation has seen both Xbox and PlayStation release digital-only consoles, with the most recent PS5 refresh allowing players to add an optional disc drive.

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