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Microsoft rumored to release cheaper next-gen Xbox with no disc drive

Could a budget alternative be the key to Xbox domination?

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There may be two new Xboxes next year.

James Martin/CNET

Next year, Sony and Microsoft will go head-to-head with the release of their newest video game consoles: the PlayStation 5 and Project Scarlett. But the Windows maker may have an extra ace up its sleeve in the form of a lower-priced console. 

Microsoft will release a new discless Xbox console along with Project Scarlett next year, according to a Kotaku report Wednesday. The discless console, dubbed Lockhart, is also reportedly expected to cost less, though final pricing is unclear. The two Xboxes act as successors to Microsoft's all-decked out Xbox One X, released in 2017 for $499, and the slim no disc drive Xbox One S, released in 2016 for $349, according to Kotaku.

Developers familiar with Microsoft's next-gen plans told Kotaku that Lockhart will have a faster CPU than any current game console, as well as a solid-state drive, like Project Scarlett. It's unknown what other differences, other than the lack of a disc drive, Lockhart will have compared with its higher-powered sibling that would give it a lower price.

When asked about the Lockhart, Microsoft said it doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.

This next generation of consoles might be the ideal time to go completely discless. The Entertainment Software Association's Essential Facts 2019 report showed digital format sales made up 83% of the $35 billion that the video game industry took in during 2018. Microsoft also has its Xbox Game Pass subscription service for $9.99 a month, which makes more than 100 games available to download. The company also has its game streaming xCloud service, which it's currently testing on phones