September has been a busy month for Xbox. The month started with Microsoft announcing a "multi-month series of experiments" overhauling the Xbox’s home UI, and then came the rollout of Discord integration for the Xbox app. And most recently, Xbox integrated HowLongToBeat.com into its library descriptions so players would know approximately how long it’ll take to beat a game before they even download it.
Today find out that Xbox actually hid another update that was made earlier this month. Previously, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S owners had always-online DRM, with both consoles returning a "this game isn't ready yet" if they couldn’t download a specific configuration file from Microsoft’s servers. Now it seems that DRM has been removed in some circumstances, allowing Xbox owners to play their games entirely offline.
The report comes courtesy of YouTuber Hikikomori Media (via the Idle Sloth Twitter account) who tested several games on his Xbox Series X. Xbox One and recent Xbox Series X|S titles, such as Resident Evil Village, Nier Replicant, Devil May Cry HD Collection, and Judgment, could be run entirely offline without any DRM getting in the way.
However, backward-compatible games such as Deadly Premonition and Panzer Dragoon didn’t work. That’s because Xbox and Xbox 360 games don’t actually run natively on the Xbox Series X. A special emulated version of the game must be downloaded in order for it to function on the current-gen console, and without an internet connection, the Xbox Series X just couldn’t download these emulated games.
Hikikomori also tested several other fully-downloaded digital titles and found they worked fine, but any games downloaded via Game Pass didn’t work. He also noted that not every new game will be playable offline even if the player has a physical disc. "Stub discs," such as Forza Horizon 5, only have part of the game data stored on the disc and the rest has to be downloaded.
Even with this DRM removed, Xbox owners will still need to complete at least one internet-enabled initial check-in where they create their Xbox accounts in order to play any games at all.
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