Microsoft has confirmed that a recent Xbox Series X update has changed a controversial DRM feature, and you can now play Xbox One discs on the new-gen console without requiring an internet connection.
Since the launch of the Xbox Series X, the console has required an internet connection in order for you to play Xbox One games on retail discs. Even if you had that disc installed on the console, you would need to be connected to the internet to actually launch the game. (This isn’t technically a problem for S Series consoles, as they don’t have a disc drive at all.)
This month, fans noticed that online check-in is no longer required. You can now play Xbox One discs on Series X without ever connecting to the internet.
“This has been in effect since update 2206,” confirmed Xbox engineering lead Eden Marie in a tweet (opens in new tab). “We’ve examined the data since the launch of Series X|S and found that in the vast majority of cases, the online compatibility check is not required for Xbox One discs. Some games may still need to be updated online after installation to ensure the best gaming experience.”
The 2206 update series included three versions released on June 1st, June 28th and July 28th of this year. The patch notes (opens in new tab) consist mostly of vague “general stability and performance improvements”, so it’s unclear exactly when the DRM change was made. We have contacted Microsoft for more information.
While dedicated Xbox Series X discs were already playable on the console without an internet connection, this was not the case with Xbox One titles. This is a particularly notable issue given that the vast majority of Xbox Series X games are released to disc as Smart Delivery titles. In most cases, Smart Delivery games come with Xbox One code on the disc and require a separate download for the Series X upgrade, meaning that until this update there was no way to download them without a consistent internet connection on the new console to play.
The Series X still requires an online connection for initial setup, and backward compatible Xbox and Xbox 360 games will still download online and require an internet connection, even if you insert a disc. But these changes make a large part of the Xbox library accessible to those who don’t have consistent online connections, and should keep it available even in the event of Microsoft server outages.
Earlier this year, a Xbox server outage left users unable to access their games for daysand Microsoft promised fast Updates to mitigate these game-blocking outages.