Microsoft makes a big improvement to Xbox DRM

The latest Xbox Series X|S update introduced a number of improvements to the Xbox DRM checking process, so you can now play most single-player games offline.

DRM or Digital Rights Management is a process that consoles use to verify the license of the game you want to play to ensure you own the game and have the right to play it. While it’s great for fighting piracy, it means gamers without internet access or limited access can’t play their games without first connecting to the servers, even if it’s from a disc.

The latest September 2208 update for Xbox Series X|S consoles added improvements to the DRM process, allowing you to effectively play your single-player games offline, although Xbox Game Pass, Xbox 360, and OG Xbox games still have an online -Check before you start playing. Although it’s not listed as a feature on Microsoft’s website, Xbox Engineering Lead Eden Marie confirmed the changes in a reply to a twitter postand said: “The online compatibility check is not necessary in the vast majority of cases.”

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Xbox DRM update explained by YouTuber Hikikomori Media

The above video by YouTuber Hikikomori Media provides an overview of the new DRM changes that have been rolled out for Xbox Series X|S consoles, affecting many Xbox One-branded games, but not all. Original Xbox and Xbox 360 games still don’t work with update 2208 says Marie is because the data on these discs “cannot be used directly,” which makes sense since they use the backwards compatibility program. Xbox Game Pass titles won’t work either, even if they’re offline single-player games, as the server needs to make sure you have an active subscription. Only Xbox Series X|S games and downloaded games will continue to work offline, but you must use your “home Xbox” to access your digital library.

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It’s disc-based Xbox One games that are seeing the benefit of the DRM changes. Previously, when you inserted a disc into your console, the console had to send a request to the Digital Rights Management server to prove that it was a legitimate copy of the game. Then the server pinged its approval back to your console and allowed you to play, meaning you would need to be online to initiate it.

That’s no longer the case, and after installing the update you should find that your disc-based Xbox One games work fine when your console isn’t connected to the internet – keep in mind that this is only for the single-player Parts of the games apply. The system does come with some limitations, however, as the days when each disc contained the full game for whatever console you were using are now far behind us.

Some games branded for use on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One may, and in many cases do, contain the Xbox One version of the game due to the limited storage capacity of discs. That means you’ll need to be connected to the internet to download the current-gen version of the game if you want to access this content, otherwise it will remain fully playable in its last-gen format. Other games only offer a portion of the game on disk and require you to download the remaining assets via a day-one patch to complete the game’s installation, which again requires an internet connection.

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It’s not a perfect Xbox game storage scenario, but it’s definitely a big step in the right direction for Microsoft, showing that the company is taking feedback from its community into account. Will these changes affect how you play or buy your games? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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