The Xbox Series X update lets you play more discs offline

Microsoft has quietly updated its Xbox Series X system software to remove the need for a one-time online registration before playing Xbox One discs and some “Smart Delivery” discs from different generations.

When we first wrote about this issue last May, we noticed how the Series X hid the loading of certain required configuration files behind a “Preparing your game…” message when the affected game first loaded to disc. However, if the system wasn’t connected to the Internet, Series X users would get a “This game isn’t ready yet” error, completely preventing them from playing their disc game.

Fast forward to last week when YouTuber Hikkomori Media noticed that online registration has apparently been removed. Discs that previously gave an offline launch error can now be installed and played directly from the disc, even if the system is not connected to the Internet.

Responding to a tweet about this video this week, Xbox head of engineering Eden Marie confirmed that Microsoft quietly made these changes (without any specific mention in the release notes) in the system 2208 updates the last month. “We’ve looked at data since the launch of Series X|S and determined that an online compatibility check is unnecessary in the vast majority of cases for Xbox One discs,” she said. “Some games may need to be updated online after installation to provide the best experience.”

Unfortunately, discs pre-compatible with the Xbox One era will still require online access and downloads to play on later hardware. That’s because these games don’t use any data from the disc itself for backwards compatibility, instead relying on a completely separate downloadable copy that can go through a special level of emulation.

This new update should ensure that discs from Xbox One (and later) will continue to work on any Xbox Series X, even if and when Microsoft completely stops supporting the console with its online servers.

However, for Xbox One games, game data can now be copied and played back from disc to the Xbox Series X hard drive without the need for an internet connection. Now if only Microsoft would remove it requirement that “you have to be online when you set up xbox for the first time” disconnected gamers will really be in business.

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