Technology

Microsoft Published Patent Points to Using Physical Games to Access Digital Copies

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Microsoft Published Patent Points

The way we play video games has changed over the years. Lately, more and more people seem to be getting digital copies of games for the convenience of purchasing physical copies of the game. This led Xbox and PlayStation to release digital-only versions of their new consoles, the Xbox Series S and PS5. With this generation of Xbox consoles though came the guarantee of backwards compatibility. The problem is that if your old games were on physical discs, you had to buy an Xbox Series X even if your future games would all be digital. You haven’t been able to connect an external disc drive. GameRant recently found a patent filed by Microsoft that suggests that gamers will be able to play your old disc-based games on a Series S console.

The way that it is described in the patent, gamers will input the game disc into a second device and then be able to play the game on their primary console. In the summary, it sounds like the devices need to be on the same local network, but in the detailed description, it sounds like you may be able to access it via the internet and you may even be able to access games from your friends.

In the first paragraphs of the patent, I really appreciate it as it shares why this patent is crucial. It also is why I hope that other game companies like Nintendo are able to make use of this idea in the near future.

In recent years, a trend towards producing and consuming digital video game content has developed. As a result of this trend, many people now prefer digital video game content over physical video game media. Accordingly, many next generation video game devices being developed are configured without hardware components for playing physical video game media. Consequently, when an 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 on the next generation video game device. Instead, the owner must repurchase the digital version of the video game content for the next generation video game device. This scenario is undesirable for multiple reasons. First, video game content (physical and digital) represents a significant financial investment to some people. Although the digital version of the video game content for the next generation video game device may provide additional content and/or significant technological improvements, it may be difficult for some people to justify repurchasing a video game they already own and have already played or completed. Second, many owners of physical video game media have emotional attachments to their physical video game media. These owners simply appreciate the “feel” of handling the physical video game media and/or the nostalgia associated with the physical video game media. Moreover, many of these owners view their libraries of physical video game media and paraphernalia as valuable collections, similarly to rare coins collections, baseball cards collections, etc.

This paragraph is how Microsoft plans to make this a real thing in general terms.

To address such challenges with playing previous generation physical video game media on next generation digital video game devices, the present disclosure describes systems and methods for providing software ownership validation of optical discs using secondary devices. In aspects, a local network may comprise at least a first and second device.

For instance, the first and second device may be connected to a local area network (LAN) that is accessible by one or more users. Alternately, the first and second device may not be connected to the same local network. For instance, the first device may be connected to a first local network and the second device may be connected to a second local network. The first and second device may communicate using the Internet or a distributed network system. The first and second device may be accessible via a common user account, separate user accounts of a common user, or separate user accounts of separate users.

In examples, the first device may be a next generation video game device that is configured without an optical disc drive and the second device may be a previous generation video game device that is configured with an optical disc drive (or configured with a similar physical media reading component). In other examples, the first and second device may both be next generation devices, previous generation devices, or some combination thereof. Additionally, the first and second device may both be configured with or without an optical disc drive (or a similar physical media reading component).

Physical media, such as an optical disc, may be inserted into the optical disc drive of the second device. The second device may be authorized to access electronic content, such as video game content, on the physical media. The second device may also be configured with a selectable setting or option that enables the second device to validate user ownership of the electronic content on the physical media. For example, when the setting or option is enabled, the second device may be able to verify to a separate device, such as the first device, that a specific user or user account possesses ownership of the electronic content on the physical media.

Microsoft is making it more about using your other consoles or a computer with an optical drive to do the verification of the physical game. This sounds like a very hard approach and I would much rather they just let you attach an external disc drive via USB.

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