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PlayStation 5's detachable disc drive requires an online connection

Always-On Drive.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 25, 2023

1 Min Read
Screenshot of the PlayStation 5 Slim and its detachable disc drive.
Image via Sony's PlayStation Blog.

Those interested in grabbing the PlayStation 5's detachable disc drive should know they'll need an internet connection to help with the preparations. 

Retailers have started stocking the Slim versions of Sony's console ahead of its November release. Recent leaked screenshots of its box have a disclaimer noting that online access is required "to pair Disc Drive and PS5 console upon setup.”

It's unclear if this will be a one-time affair or a permanent requirement. But it's worth noting PlayStation is now in a similar spot as Microsoft with the Xbox One: that console originally required an always-online connection, a thorny bit of messaging that Sony used to its advantage when promoting the PlayStation 4. 

More seriously, a physical disc drive having an online prerequisite raises concerns about game preservation. If and when a game is eventually taken offline or delisted from servers, the disc drive would become a moot point and doubly infuriating since its whole appeal is for those who own digital-only PS5s. 

That said, Jon Doyle (CEO of culture site Lost in Cult) pointed out the requirement may be Sony's compliance with an "old outdated law" from the DMCA meant to curtail piracy. Section 1201 makes it illegal to "circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work," such as optical drive firmware.

Sony is expected to release the Slim PlayStation 5s in November for $500 (standard version) and $450 (digital). On its own, the disc drive will run for $80.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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