This device will allowXboxSeries S owners have the possibility to access new and old physical games, as long as those games are available on Xbox’s online store.
The last two generations of consoles have seen a shift in the market from physical disc-based games to digital downloads directly on consoles. While some are still firmly in favor of brick-and-mortar games, that option is becoming rarer. Many modern games (like Halo: Infinite) don’t contain the entire game on disc and require a digital download and an online connection to play.
This current trend in online connectivity requirements and digital gaming isMicrosoftFirst predicted at the 2013 Xbox One Showcase, the reaction was so overwhelmingly negative that Microsoft backtracked on many of the features announced for the Xbox One. However, many of these features have crept into home consoles over time.
Digital gaming has now become so common that next-gen consoles from the Xbox and PlayStation have versions without optical drives. These digital-only options are cheaper, but leave some players with some concerns. However, Microsoft has now patented a system that could eliminate one of these concerns for Xbox Series S buyers. The patent describes a system that would allow an external optical drive to authenticate an Xbox game and allow players to access digital versions of the game through the Xbox Series S game store.
A system like this would benefit players who no longer have to worry about any Xbox One discs they own going to be useless after buying an Xbox Series S, while on Xbox Series X they can play every non-Kinect Xbox One game. This is a huge backwards-compatible buying incentive for gamers who upgrade to next-gen after purchasing a physical game exclusively for the Xbox One. It will also help Xbox Series S players who received a physical game from a friend or family member who didn’t understand that the disc was incompatible, even if it was for the correct system.
It’s not known if the patent allows players to redeem digital versions of the game to permanently add to their digital library, or if the patent just serves as a basis for Xbox Series S players to buy an external optical drive (if they want to play backwards compatible Xbox One games). It seems unlikely that players will be allowed to make copies of their games if the discs are likely to be sold and reproduced again, though the patent might identify whether the discs have been verified before, like a code to redeem digital games through the Xbox Game Store.
The patent description also seems to suggest that the Xbox One could interface with the Xbox Series S and function as an external disk drive for certified games, but it’s unclear if they’ll be wireless or need to be connected.