The new optional disc drive for the PlayStation 5 (PS5) requires an internet connection to pair it to the console.
The requirement was first spotted by an eagle-eyed fan in the fine print of an in-store advertisement for Call of Duty on PlayStation.
Wait…..are you actually trying to say to me that the PlayStation 5 Optional Disc Drive has ONLINE DRM??!!
I…I mean what??!!! pic.twitter.com/cYVGuPR16g
— TheStebe (@The_Stebe) October 25, 2023
While this might seem like an unobtrusive requirement it begs the question of Sony’s continued support for peripherals like these after the console’s lifetime. In a hypothetical future when the servers go down, your disc drive and physical PS5 games will become worthless to you if you need to switch to a new console.
There’s a few reasons console manufacturers might require internet for the first-time installation. Driver installation, software updates, etc. However in a world with plug and play technology and Bluetooth it’s a surprisingly awkward step to require consumers to take.
In all likelihood, the real purpose is likely that for some reason PlayStation consoles have separate boards for their disc drives. Wired experimented with PS5 consoles with disc drives and tried swapping them. Despite the hardware being identical, the two refused to play nice; for some reason disc drives are tailored for their specific console.
Why do they do this? No doubt it has something to do with copyright and trademarks, the root cause of most anti-consumer practices.