In the ongoing argument between digital and physical game ownership, Xbox might be shaking things up. A new patent filing from the company might allow digital-only consoles to play physical game copies
Recently, theres been a trend of game console options that do not have a disc drive. This includes the PS5 disc-free version and the Xbox Series S. While more affordable, one of the most common complaints is that they are not capable of playing physical game discs. As such, you need to purchase games digitally to play them. BUT! According to a recently discovered patent application
, found by GameRant
, Xbox is looking to establish a way for the disc-free console to recognize when you own a physical copy, and to allow you to play them accordingly.
We say new, but the patent was actually filed back in November of 2020, the same month that Microsoft launched the Xbox Series S/X.
The patent describes software ownership validation of optical discs using [a] secondary device. Or to put simply, an accessory that lets someone confirm that they own a game disc so that they can play it on a disc-free console.
Microsoft described a scenario where someone may purchase a new generation console that doesn't have a disc drive, but will still own discs for past generation games. They would be unable to play those older games that they own. They describe the situation as undesirable, and a potential reason for them not to purchase said console.
All in all, it sounds like a secondary accessory for the Xbox Series S, like a plug-in disc drive. Someone could plug it into the console, and insert their game disc into that external drive. From there, the console will either run the game from the disc, or it will grant the player permission to download and play the digital version of that game, it's not clear which.
Its funny, though. Because depending on how much this accessory costs, it almost nullifies the whole point.
If the Series S is $300, and the X is $500, and the attachment is $100, then youre essentially paying $400 for the S, which does have weaker specs. Sure, it's still cheaper than the X, but enough to be worth it at that point? This is even worse when you consider PlayStations perspective, which has only a $100 difference between the disc and disc-free consoles.
Now if the attachment only costs $20 or something, then thats a far more appealing concept. But time will tell, wont it? Theres no certainty that Xbox will pursue this avenue at all. They filed it two years ago, after all. If they havent produced such an item now, then whats to say they will at all.
Either way, time will tell. Stay tuned.