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Microsoft backtracks on controversial DRM scheme for Xbox game discs

20 Sep 2022 | Rasmus Larsen |

The "vast majority" of Xbox One game discs no longer need an active internet connection to install on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One consoles, Microsoft has confirmed.

Since the launch of Xbox One in 2013, Microsoft has required that game discs "phone home" to online servers to complete game installation.

This DRM (Digital Rights Management) scheme has been controversial to say the least as it has made even single-player disc games impossible to install in offline situations at home or, for example, a holiday home without a broadband connection.

Microsoft has finally acknowledged that its DRM scheme went one step too far and the company is now backtracking. It is a win for consumers and game preservation in general as most Xbox game discs will now work even in the unlikely scenario that Xbox goes out of business.

- "Yes, this is true since the 2206 update. We examined data since Series X|S launch & determined the online compatibility check isn't needed in the vast majority of cases for Xbox One discs. Some games may still need to be updated online after install to ensure the best experience," said Eden Marie, Engineering Lead at Xbox.

The system update required is actually version 2208 (link to Xbox support) and it is available now for both Xbox One and Xbox Series consoles.


Xbox wanted even stricter DRM

In 2013, Microsoft wanted to implement an even stricter DRM scheme that would effectively make it impossible to lend, share, and resell Xbox game discs. The company dropped those plans after gamer outcry and instead landed on the less strict DRM scheme that the company is now abandoning. Game discs that still require an internet connection include discs where the full game is not stored on the disc due to storage limitations or a game developer's day-one patch. Single-player games downloaded via Xbox Game Pass also still require an internet connection to verify that you have an active subscription plan. In addition, game discs for the original Xbox and Xbox 360 require an internet connection to install on Xbox One and Series consoles as the data on the discs "cannot be used directly". - Source: Xbox via WindowsCentral

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