Looking at these photos, X user @Thunder_clart noticed something strange in his print. “An Internet connection is required to connect the Disc Drive to the PS5 console during setup,” reads the disclaimer on the box. Yes, being able to use an add-on optical disc drive will require, during setup, an internet connection. Since authentication servers can go down at any time, this caused confusion among video game developers.
A December 2020 Wired.com article appears to explain why this is happening, even in the context of repairing broken drives on the original Disc Edition. “The root of the problem is that Microsoft and Sony lock down the software they use to integrate their disc readers with their motherboards,” wrote iFixit’s Kyle Wiens in the article. “Shops like Replay’d can easily change their drives by getting software to connect drives and boards. Instead, repair companies are afraid of copyright laws that prevent the removal of the digital locks that keep everyone from players. for farmers and hospitals not to repair the equipment they have.
In fact, Wiens described how, during iFixit’s teardown of the PlayStation 5, he tried to swap out the optical drives for the two Disc Edition models he had. Attempting to download “Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales” on all exchanges resulted in an error message that said the game was “not supported by PS5.” This was also fixed by changing the drives back to the originals they were shipped with. In other words, it seems like installing a new driver requires an internet connection to create a handheld app that allows the PlayStation 5 drive to work properly.