Over the weekend, Xbox Live experienced a major outage, exposing some lesser-known aspects of Xbox DRM policy and blocking many games. Microsoft may already have a solution in the works to avoid this in the future, while preserving the market for physical games at a time when digital-only consoles are becoming more common.
As first spotted by GameRant, Microsoft has filed a new patent for a system that would allow gamers to use another device, such as an older Xbox console or PC, to verify ownership of a physical game and then obtain a license to play that game digitally without the disc. This would help those buying the Xbox Series S in particular, as the console is digital only and doesn’t have a disc drive.
It is unclear if this method would grant a permanent digital license to play without the disc, or if the license expires after a certain amount of time. it’s also unclear whether an external disc drive would be needed for this verification system, and what exactly would happen to the disc after the digital license was obtained.
While there are still questions about Microsoft’s plans and thought process with this patented system, it appears to be a modified, more user-friendly version of Microsoft’s original plan for the Xbox One. At the time, Microsoft planned to use disc-based games to verify a license, and then you could play the game without using the disc. The downside was that the console had to have a constant internet connection – which didn’t go over well and ultimately led to a complete overhaul of Xbox One marketing, features and policies.
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KitGuru says: The market for physical games has shrunk dramatically over the past decade, and many are now fully digital, even on consoles. However, there are still plenty of gamers who support the idea of physical games, and it continues to be a big part of the market. A system like this would be a big win for those who want to buy a digital-only console, like the Xbox Series S, but don’t want to lose the ability to play their physical games.