Microsoft intends to stop releasing games on discs? This is what the recent wave of layoffs might suggest.
Massive layoffs at Microsoft are undoubtedly bad news for those in the tech industry. However, as it turns out, players also have the right to perceive the latest news with a considerable dose of concern.
Layoffs at Microsoft mean the end of physical versions of games?
As he points out Jesus Corden, managing editor of Windows Central, as part of mass layoffs, the company’s branches responsible for the physical distribution of games for the Xbox console were closed down. This may not mean much on its own, but when combined with the recent leak about it a new version of the Xbox Series X console without an optical drive paints a rather gloomy picture of the Redmond giant’s future plans.
Microsoft has also shut down departments dedicated to bringing Xbox games to physical retail … which if you’ve seen the digital-only Xbox console leaks … well, you can get an idea of where Microsoft is going here.
— Jez (@JezCorden) January 25, 2024
There have already been voices among industry commentators that Microsoft’s recent actions are a precursor to completely abandoning the physical distribution of games for the Xbox console. At this stage, of course, it is not certain and it is unlikely to happen overnight. As Jez Corden himself points out, the activities of the Redmond giant may equally suggest outsourcing activities related to the physical distribution of games or consolidating tasks within other departments. Nevertheless, the direction chosen by the company seems quite obvious. Suffice it to say that at least The upcoming exclusive Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II will not have a physical release, and instead the game will be offered digitally only.
Generally, the whole situation may cause justified concern among players. Regardless of one’s attitude towards digital distribution, depriving players of choice is sure to be met with enormous dissatisfaction. However, looking at Microsoft’s recent actions, the abandonment of boxes seems almost certain – we just don’t know when exactly this will happen. However, if we are to bet, it will certainly happen sooner than most players would like.