Microsoft files patent for converting physical Xbox discs to digital

Microsoft has created a patent that allows converting physical Xbox disc based games into their digital equivalent. Word of the patent was first reported by GameRant, which describes a method by which consumers can insert a disc into an Xbox console, upload the license to a server, and then be able to use that same game on a digital system.

However, the patent doesn’t detail what happens to the disc afterwards. It could still be used as a normal disc after it’s been used to claim a digital copy of the game, or it could render the disc useless once it’s gone through the process of the digital conversion. These are purely speculation at this point though.

Looking into the patent filing answers a few questions however, one being allowing people, who jumped into the new console generation with digital versions of those consoles like the Xbox Series S, to play their previous console generation’s games through backwards compatibility (and possibly current generation games as well) digitally.

It’s an interesting idea, especially for those who currently have an Xbox Series S or the digital Xbox One S, though the execution or lack of details on the patent would lead one to guess how useful this would be. However, the utility of this technology would be reliant on the user having access to another disc-based console for the verification process. So it mostly benefits people who own two consoles, one being a disc based console such as an Xbox Series X or a standard Xbox One, and a digital based console such as a Series S or One S.

Xbox physical

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has looked into disc-to-digital technology however. As reported by Brad Sams back in 2018, Microsoft was planning a disc-to-digital program that allows physical games to be replaced by digital copies by visiting a participating retailer and trading your physical Xbox disc in for a digital download, but the program never launched. This new patent could revive that possible convenience or build upon it. But for now, Xbox fans will just have to wait and see.