The piece just didn’t make the cut.
The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has been dropping all kinds of information about the upcoming system from Microsoft, the Xbox Series X. He’s talked in coded words about the console’s price, and how the company is still dedicated to launching in 2020. He’s also fielded questions about something many may not think about in relation to the system’s audio. Unfortunately, the system will lack an optical audio port, though the reasons why are simple.
Despite appearing in some earlier mock ups of the Xbox Series X, the port will not be in the device. Spencer explained on the IGN Unlocked podcast the reason, and it just comes down to two of the most fundamental things you can think: space and money. He explains that ultimately there just wasn’t enough space when the final design came in, and that the cost of the part was more than they deemed worth.
“So if you look at a part on a console that’s maybe one, or two dollars and you say, ‘okay, how big of a deal is that inside of a console?’” said Spencer. “That’s a few hundred dollars. But then you say, ‘okay, we’re going to plan to sell, you know, 100 million of these consoles.’ So you take two bucks over 100 million now you’re $200 million over the life of the program.
“You know there’s all of these decisions are things that we think through very deeply and try to figure out where the plans are. And I know with everything that we don’t do that we used to do, there’s going to be somebody who’s disappointed and it’s not the funnest part of the job, but I think we have a plan for the future.”
So, it’s a bit of a disappointment for audiophiles, but hopefully there’s an alternative in the future. The Xbox Series X is still slated to come this Holiday season.