Microsoft patents a way to use game discs with discless

Microsoft patents a way to use game discs with discless consoles

Although the Microsoft Xbox Series S console is loved by many for its combination of relatively low price and high performance, it cannot replace the Series X model with an optical drive for game disc owners. The company is already working on the problem – it has filed a description for a patent “Assessment of Optical Disc Software Ownership Using a Third-Party Device”.

    Image source: Microsoft

Image source: Microsoft

The application was filed back in 2020 but was only published by the US Patent Office last week. So far there is no evidence that a patent has already been received, but the application itself shows that the company is trying to solve the problem of users finding themselves in new realities with licensed optical discs in their hands.

In the description, there are few details about the principles of disk verification. It is known that this requires at least two devices, one of which has a readable drive “a disc containing electronic content” and “verify the user’s ownership of electronic content”. In other words, the user can play their favorite game on the console without an optical drive if they have the appropriate licensed disc.

After verification by one device, access to content is made available for another – for example, the Xbox Series S console. At the same time, content can be downloaded to this console either via an online service or from another device.

The mechanics of the process are not entirely clear. For example, devices can theoretically be connected to the same local network, to different networks, over the Internet, or over another network “Distributed Network System”as specified in the application. In addition, they can be associated with a single user account or linked to different accounts. The verification process can be performed both on the device itself and through “outside the video game service” like Xbox Live.

    Image source: Microsoft

Image source: Microsoft

It is noteworthy that the application does not exclude downloading content over a local network to save traffic or in the case of low Internet bandwidth in a certain area without the intermediary of centralized Microsoft servers.

As the company points out, many have extensive game disc libraries, and players holding on to older titles will need to buy back digital content for the next-gen console. In addition to financial reasons, there is also an emotional attachment to old games and even nostalgia, as well as the value of “feeling” a physical drive in your hands – applications in such categories are usually rarely described.

In other words, even as Microsoft focuses on all-digital options like Game Pass and cloud-based streaming services, the company still has time to retain legacy game owners.


About the author

Alan Foster

Alan Foster covers computers and games and all the news in the gaming industry.

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