Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 5 Slim Digital Edition allows customers to install a disc drive anytime after purchase. However, the upcoming PS5 Slim Disc Drive requires an internet connection to be paired to a specific console.
Revealed earlier this month, the new PS5 Slim model is a much smaller PlayStation console with expanded storage and some other minor benefits. Still found in its Disc Edition and Digital Edition forms, the latter will be able to have an external 4K blu-ray drive added after the fact.
Found on the back of the leaked PS5 Slim Modern Warfare 3 bundle, PlayStation has made it so that gamers must have an internet connection to pair a disc drive to their PlayStation. In small text on the back of the console’s box, it reads: “Internet connection required to pair disc drive”.
While unconfirmed by Sony, it seems that a disc drive must be paired to a specific console, unable to be swapped between multiple units. This could be a way of Sony stopping the creation of third-party disc drives that are cheaper than Sony’s offering as third-party drives wouldn’t be able to be paired. (In our recent review of the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro, we discuss Sony’s restrictions on third-party companies using their technologies.)
Furthermore, Sony’s restrictions on making the disc drive reliant on an initial connection to PlayStation’s servers are concerning for the preservation of PS5 games. In twenty years time, when PS5 servers are no longer available, players will be unable to pair a drive to their games console.
Digital Foundry analyst and games preservation expert John Linneman said on Twitter: “If this is the case, that is highly concerning and very strange. Hardware connectivity shouldn't be determined by a server that may not always be available. It could possibly be related to firmware checks? Hopefully it's just that as it would be easy to work around.”
The PlayStation 5 Slim Disc Drive add-on will retail for a quite pricey $79.99 / €119.99 / £99.99. The PS5 Slim console with a disc drive built-in cost $499.99 / €549.99 / £479.99.