A new patent suggests Microsoft is designing a system that would allow the Xbox Series S to play physical game discs. Although Microsoft has not confirmed the product, the speculative system would allow owners of the digital-only console to convert their physical games into downloadable copies.
As noted by GameRant, the patent describes a system that would validate your ownership of a physical game, before granting you access to its digital version for online download. The system would involve two devices: one that includes an optical drive capable of reading game discs and verifying ownership; and a second that you would use to download the games.
It feels like pairing a console with an external hard drive, although a drive can independently connect with Xbox servers to authenticate ownership of the game. If implemented for the latest generation of consoles, it would effectively allow Xbox Series S owners to run physical copies of their games through the console.
In the patent, Microsoft claims that such a system would solve backward compatibility issues. Some gamers are reluctant to move to the next generation of consoles because they can’t port their existing library of physical Xbox games to digital-only systems.
“Many next-generation video game devices under development are configured without hardware components to play physical video game media,” the patent states.
“As a result, when the owner of a previous generation video game device purchases a next generation video game device, the owner is unable to play their physical video game media,” he continues.
“Instead, the owner must repurchase the digital version of the video game content for the next generation gaming device. This scenario is undesirable for several reasons “.
We can hope
The device described in the patent appears to be a useful feature. Not only would it allow console owners to access their previous catalog of Xbox titles, but it would allow them to purchase games without having to go through the official Xbox store. Physical editions of games can often be found for less than the price they are listed on Microsoft’s digital marketplace, so expanding your game library with disc copies can sometimes be a more affordable route.
However, the patent leaves many details hanging in the air. For one, it is not clear what the device described in the patent would look like. It could take the form of a traditional external hard drive that should be purchased separately from the main console, but it could be something else. An Xbox One, for example, appears to be able to read optical discs and connect to Xbox servers, so it appears to be able to perform the same function.
Finally, the patent does not specify what happens to a copy of a game to disk after it has been verified. It is likely that each disk can only be authenticated once, in an effort to prevent digital piracy, although it is unclear whether it can still be used on a console that is not connected to Microsoft’s servers.
As with all patents, nothing is confirmed. The device presented in this patent could be years after its arrival on the market or it could never see the light.