With the release of the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, the latter’s lack of optical drive means games for it are digital only. But if you have a large collection of older Xbox One games, how do you convert discs to digital games for Xbox series S?
As there is no disc drive you can’t play the games directly on the console, however, you can subscribe to the game on Game Pass and download it that way. Microsoft is working on a patent to allow recognition of physical discs to give access online.
Let’s look at the current state of Xbox gaming with the Xbox Series X, the progress of the move to digital only, and other solutions for your physical discs of Xbox games. So join me as we explore what is going on with digital games and the Xbox Series S.
Can You Convert Disc to Digital Game Xbox Series S?
You can only play digital games on the Xbox Series S. That means if you’ve got a bunch of Xbox games you’re much better off going with the Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series S is cheaper than the Xbox Series X. Not only is the console less powerful, but it has no disc drive, meaning it can’t play physical media. This digital-only model seriously limits where you can get games from.
Currently turning a game from a digital game purchase into a disc is a feature that a lot of people are asking for.
One way to access many games is to get the Game Pass for the Xbox One S digital edition.
This is part of the larger move to digital games only, as physical media has many drawbacks. It is clear that there is still a market for physical games, but the need for updates, patches and other changes are best managed with an internet connection and digital copy.
Games are able to be pushed out on a quicker timeline as the playtesting time is reduced, due to being able to fix any problems that crop up just by pushing an update, although this does mean that a physical game is never going to be like the current game.
You also will always have to download and install something even if you have the physical game, because there are always invariably updates and patches released for any game.
Can You Get a Digital Copy of a Game You Already Own for Xbox Series S?
Series S owners are currently unable to port their existing collection of physical games to the console, a problem the Xbox Series X doesn’t share as it features a disc drive and the console handles backwards compatibility.
There is a patent in the works that could solve this challenge relating to backwards compatibility, as it is a system that can allow physical media discs to be put into a digital format.
So by offering this disc-to-digital system, Xbox Series S owners could enjoy all their old games digitally, without having to buy them a second time via a digital copy despite owning the game already.
It would work by validating the physical copy, allowing you ‘free’ access to the digital copy. This would also work for Xbox Series X and would avoid having to keep swapping discs. However it would open up a lot more flexibility for the Xbox Series S.
The exact way this works is not yet clear, and the small size of the Xbox Series S console’s internal drive means you’ll need to delete games before putting new ones on there, so hopefully a record of this transfer stays linked to your account so you can redownload it later.
The unverified information on its operation would be that you would upload some version of the license or game details to a validation server, and then the ownership rights would be assigned to that Xbox Live account, hopefully on a permanent basis.
Knowing how annoying DRM (‘digital rights management’) issues can be these days, I suspect that you would have to keep rescanning the disc every few months or so, but I am overly cynical about these aspects sometimes.
Another possibility would be to transfer a game from another console using either an external hard drive or via network transfer. Not only does this save you downloading to get the game but it also means you can get around the disc drive-less console.
Keep in mind that this process doesn’t give you a license for the game. That license is on the disc, so it won’t be playable on the Xbox Series S unless you’ve got a license for the game on your account.
There are games released for free on Game Pass, but while there are quite a few games that come in every month, the chances of the game you want to coincidentally come into Game Pass are very low.
The easiest way would be if you’re a Game Pass subscriber and the game is available in Game Pass, as it will be playable without the disc if you’ve got it installed as a digital copy and have the ownership rights to it too.
When you put an Xbox One disc that is compatible with an Xbox Series X, it will just download a new Xbox Series X version of that game rather than installing it from the disc. Due to a DRM reason, you will still need the disc to play it.
You’ll also get Xbox Live Gold, EA Play, access from all devices, some perks and exclusive discounts and also day one releases with a Game Pass description.
The other issue is that games from the Xbox One came on Blu-rays as opposed to the older DVD format seen on the Xbox 360. The downside to this is the massive size of the games on Xbox One, as while a DVD holds at maximum 8GB of data, a Blu-ray disc is about 50GB.