New PS5 Slim Requires Internet To Install Detachable Disc Drive

Sony’s forthcoming smaller PlayStation 5 will make the disc drive swappable, allowing owners to remove or connect it as they wish. However, a new leak of the upcoming slim redesign points to an internet connection being required for the Blu-Ray player’s initial setup, igniting fears it will one day become an obsolete solution for playing old PS5 discs.

The surprise requirement was discovered through a new leak of the PS5 slim’s box as retailers begin stocking the console for its November launch. Shared with Call of Duty news account CharlieIntel, the images show a disclaimer on the box that reads, “Internet connection required to pair Disc Drive and PS5 console upon setup.”

As the requirement began circulating online, it struck some as unusual and pernicious. “Uhhhh…if this is the case, that is highly concerning and very strange,” tweeted Digital Foundry’s John Linneman. “Hardware connectivity shouldn’t be determined by a server that may not always be available.”

It’s not immediately clear if the internet connection requirement will truly be a one-time thing needed only the first time the console and disc drive are paired, or if it might be necessary every time the drive is taken off and reattached. One concern is that the requirement could make new PS5s unable to read discs at some point far in the future, if the servers utilized by Sony for the pairing are eventually taken offline. If so, it would be another big blow to video game preservation as the medium goes all-digital.

Read More: PS5 Slim Is A Lot Smaller Than We Thought

It’s possible that the requirement is just the company complying with an archaic bit of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act intended to prevent piracy. As pointed out by Lost in Cult CEO Jon Doyle and others, Section 1201 of the law makes it illegal to “circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a copyrighted work.”

That includes optical drive firmware, and it’s long been a thorn in the side of right to repair advocates. As Wired reported back in 2020, the language has led a lot of older consoles to end up in landfills rather than get resold or re-gifted. Section 1201 was re-examined by the U.S. Copyright office in 2021. While some protections for repair were expanded, it stopped short of adding a full exemption.

According to Dealabs’ billbil-kun, the slimmer PS5 will officially release on November 8. While the standard model with the disc drive will be $500, the all-digital one will cost $450 with the stand-alone disc drive priced at $80. Sony has confirmed that once all current stock of launch PS5 consoles sells out, the slim models will be the only ones available.

Update 11/10/2023 4:31: PS5 slims are now out in the wild, including its detachable disc drive. So how exactly does the DRM work? Well in addition to needing to sync it to the console online first before it can be used, it apparently has to be reconnected to the internet everytime the PS5’s database is rebuilt, something players do from time to time to keep the system working well or because an update or reset demands it.

As the preservation account “Does it play” wrote, “In this scenario, once the service you need to connect to is gone, you can no longer use the disc drive.”

MW3 Error Keeps Asking Some Players For MW2 Disc

Some PlayStation 5 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III players looking to enjoy the game’s newly released single-player campaign are encountering a bizarre problem: The game is locking them out from playing and asking for the Modern Warfare II disc.

For a long time, people have joked that new Call of Duty games are just the same game repackaged with a few new guns every year. It’s not true, of course, but some installments do feel very similar to past entries thanks to similar technology and assets being used across the franchise. But MW3 on PS5 pushes this further, with trophies on PS5 being listed as DLC for MW2. And now, some players are reporting that they can’t even play the game on PS5 due to an error message asking them to insert the PS4 version of Modern Warfare II.

As reported and confirmed by IGN on November 2, players are complaining online that they can’t play the new game’s campaign—which is out now for folks who pre-ordered—because of an error locking them out. Awkwardly, this error message asks players to “Please insert a play disc for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and retry.” A bit odd, as these players purchased the new game, Modern Warfare III.

Kotaku has reached out to Activision for comment.

While some players have suggested workarounds on Reddit, that doesn’t seem to be fixing the issue for everyone dealing with the odd error. Activision seems aware of the problem and tweeted that it is “investigating” the issues. A later tweet confirmed an update had been pushed that should fix the issue for players following a console restart.

Nowhere in either tweets did Activision mention what the game’s error text specifically stated. That’s likely because this strange error is just more evidence that reports from 2022—claiming Modern Warfare III was planned to be a Modern Warfare II expansion—were indeed accurate..

On November 1, players discovered that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III on PS5 didn’t have a platinum trophy, reigniting speculation that the new game was somehow being treated as a DLC for the previous one. This issue was also spotted on the Steam version of the game, with MW3’s achievements listed as DLC for MW2.

The MW2 disc error and the DLC trophy episode may be leftovers of when this entry in the CoD series wasn’t a full game, but a paid expansion for Modern Warfare II. While eventually plans changed, as reported by Bloomberg in February, it seems some ghosts of those past expansion plans linger in Modern Warfare III for PS5.

Pre-order Modern Warfare III: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop