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Xbox One S All-Digital Edition could arrive in May

The all-digital future may soon be upon us. According to Windows Central, the long-rumored digital-only Xbox One — known previously as "Maverick" — is actually called Xbox One S All-Digital Edition. And it could potentially launch in May of this year, with pre-orders kicking off sometime in the middle of April.

This is a pretty big deal, and we'll tell you why.

Think of the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition as a trial balloon. Microsoft certainly knows the direction it wants to go in, with Game Pass and Project xCloud both making use of digital delivery methods. The All-Digital Edition is testing the viability of a digital-only platform in 2019 with older hardware, before Microsoft rolls its bigger guns in the next generation. And it's asking a few questions. Are consumers receptive to the idea of a fully digital console? Can they leave physical media behind? Are they ready now for something more akin to the original Xbox One vision — the one that shot the platform in the foot before it could even hit a light jog?

If the answer is yes, and things go well with the All-Digital Edition of the Xbox One S, you can bet you'll see a disc-less version of whatever the next Xbox might be.

For what it's worth, Microsoft's approach has been a lot smarter this time around. Rather than force a bunch of new, scary features down everyone's throats like the company did with the Xbox One launch, Microsoft has slowly been leading players down that same path, demonstrating its value along the way. You can subscribe to Xbox Game Pass and get 100+ games for $10 a month if you're willing to accept that you don't really own those games. You can pre-load purchased titles and play them the minute they launch, while all the suckers are still in line at GameStop. Someday, you'll be able to stream your game library to your smartphone no matter where you are. That's not something you'll be able to do with a Blu-Ray disc.

And there have been rumors for quite a while that Microsoft is considering a disc-to-digital trade-in system. It's hard to believe, but we're nearly at that place now where exchanging a disc for a digital copy could be seen as an upgrade. A lot of console gamers would've balked at such a thing back in 2013.

In fact, a disc-less Xbox One in 2013 would've been laughed out of the arena. Imagine Sony's game-borrowing video but on steroids, and you'll have a general sense for how that would've gone. But in the year 2019, video games are in a much different place.

And if Windows Central's sourcing holds up, we might get to see exactly how far we've come when May rolls around.