Can you use an external disc drive on Xbox Series S: How to play disc games on Xbox Series S

Can you really just plug in an external disc drive on an Xbox Series S and use it to play games?

by Steven Shaw
White Xbox logo

Is it possible to use an external disc drive on the Xbox Series S, rather than being limited to digital content only? That’s the question we’ll be considering today.

As the smaller, cheaper sibling to the Xbox Series X, the Series S was built to be a digital console. It has no disc drive, which makes it much smaller and cheaper. But there are drawbacks: you can’t play games you only own as a physical copy. Everything has to be bought as a digital copy, meaning no second-hand market, and you can’t easily shop around for the cheapest deal.

But on the flip side, the Xbox Series S does have a lot of ports. As well as the power port, there is an Ethernet jack, two USB-A ports, an HDMI output and a dedicated storage expansion slot. There is an additional USB-A port on the front of the console as well. So is it possible, that even though it wasn’t designed to play discs, that there may just be a workaround?

Read More: Can the Xbox Series S play 4K games?

Can You Use An External Disc Drive on Xbox Series S

No, you cannot use an external disc drive to play physical games on the Xbox Series S. If you bought an external disc drive, it would not be able to connect to your console. If you have an enormous physical library of old Xbox games that you still want to play, then a Series X may be the better option for you here.

Microsoft stated categorically that:

The Xbox Series S is an all-digital gaming console for disc-free gaming. Disc-based games are not compatible with Xbox Series S.

While this may seem disappointing at first glance, it’s perhaps worth contemplating what the intention really is behind the two systems.

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What’s the point of an Xbox Series S if it won’t play discs?

Backwards compatibility has been a really strong feature of Microsoft’s Xbox strategy. So it may feel a little jarring that they have developed a console that won’t let you play your old discs. But that’s not really the goal with this console.

The Series S has all the same support and functionality as its bigger, higher-spec sibling. This means that all the supported games from Xbox One, Xbox 360 and even the original Xbox, are available. And this really is the key.


Xbox Series S: A Digital Future?

The Series S forces users to move away from disc-based gaming to a purely digital platform. But it isn’t just about coaxing people to buy games digitally; it’s about encouraging users to move away from buying individual titles and switching to a subscription-based model, such as Xbox Live Gold, or Game Pass Ultimate.

Given the relatively low price point of the console, you could have months, if not years, of subscription-based gaming before your spending is the equivalent of the Series X plus additional games. And Game Pass really is a pretty compelling proposition.


Read More: PS5 Digital Edition vs Xbox Series S: Which digital-only console should you buy?

So is there any way to play disc based games on the Series S?

The only way to play a game on the Series S, is through a digital copy of that game. Whatever you do, however, don’t copy this guy:

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Steven Shaw