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Phil Spencer Says That Xbox Is Still Supportive Of Physical Games

Despite speculation to the contrary.

The idea of the death of video games on physical media seems to loom closer every day, and with console manufacturers consistently offering versions of their consoles sans optical drive, it’s easy to believe that the big platforms are keen to do away with them sooner rather than later.

In an interview with Stephen Totilo of Game File following last week’s business update though, Xbox’s Phil Spencer has rejected the idea that the company is pushing a disc-free agenda – despite ongoing speculation that it’s shifting away from physical media as well as those leaked plans for an all-digital, cylindrical Xbox Series X refresh.

“We are supportive of physical media, but we don’t have a need to drive that disproportionate to customer demand,” Spencer told the journalist, somewhat echoing recent comments from Take-Two’s CEO, Strauss Zelnick.

“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.”

The Xbox boss did point out some logistic and economic concerns around the continued inclusion of drives in gaming consoles, saying that the dwindling number of manufacturers building disc drives coupled with less people buying physical games means that the cost versus return on putting an optical drive in a console is a real consideration.

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“Gaming consoles themselves have kind of become the last consumer electronic device that has a drive. And this is a real issue, just in terms of the number of manufacturers that are actually building drives and the cost associated with those. And when you think about cogs that we’re going to go put in a console – and as you have fewer suppliers and fewer buyers – the cost of the drive does have an impact,” Spencer explains, while reiterating that an all-digital future isn’t a part of the company’s current strategy.

“But I will say our strategy does not hinge on people moving all-digital. And getting rid of physical, that’s not a strategic thing for us.”

You can read the full interview, which also goes into discussions around the recent mass layoffs at Xbox, Activision Blizzard and Bethesda as well as the future of Call of Duty on Game Pass, right here.