Best answer: No, Xbox Series S doesn't support physical disc-based media. The Xbox Series X is Microsoft's only next-generation console with an optical disc drive, with support for Xbox Series X games and 4K UHD Blu-ray, as well as physical Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles via backward compatibility.
Does Xbox Series S have a disc drive?
Microsoft has unveiled Xbox Series S, its secondary next-generation Xbox console headed to market alongside Xbox Series X. The device provides a more affordable entry point into the future of Xbox, borrowing numerous features from its sister flagship, but undercutting the competition at a $299 retail price. The Xbox Series S has its compromises, without around a third of the graphical performance, but provides a lucrative price for those picking up a new console this holiday.
To deliver a console below $300, Microsoft took the foundations of Xbox Series X but scaling back its features to the core next-generation values. It provides a console rocking the latest CPU and GPU architecture from AMD, the same custom NVMe SSD technology, and many premium advancements delivered at the higher price tag.
But the Xbox Series S packs less capable hardware, in line with the price. The console delivers up to 1440p resolution at 120 FPS, rather than the 4K baseline poised for Xbox Series X. Microsoft has also dropped the optical disc drive, making the Xbox Series S an all-digital console.
Can Xbox Series S play discs?
With no disc drive on Xbox Series S, no physical disc-based games will work with the console. Disc-based movies and TV will also not be supported, whereas the Xbox Series X supports 4K Blu-ray and DVD playback. Instead, Xbox Series S owners must use the integrated Xbox Store for games and entertainment, or on-demand streaming services with Xbox apps.
The removal of an optical drive also means that Xbox Series S backward compatibility will be limited to its Xbox Series X counterpart. The Xbox Series X plays previous Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles available through the Xbox backward compatibility program. The same applies to Xbox Series S, but only for those titles purchased digitally or included with subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass or EA Play.
But the removal of the disc drive has its benefits, namely reduced price point against the Xbox Series X. Microsoft first trialed a disc-less console back with the Xbox One S All-Digital, slicing the retail price by $50, merely removing the disc reader and closing the external slot. Microsoft now revives that concept for the next generation, building the console as a digital-only device from the outset.
Microsoft has also taken the opportunity to make Xbox Series S its smallest console to date, besting the previous record-holder, Xbox One X. The Xbox Series S clocks in at 60% of the Xbox Series X volume, shaving just a little from the previous generation's flagship.
Xbox Series S vs. Xbox Series X: Which is for you?
While the Xbox Series X has taken the spotlight for the majority of 2020, the unveiling of Xbox Series S throws a new variable for next-generation buyers. The console presents a more affordable opportunity to experience many upcoming Xbox features, closing in almost half the expected $499 Xbox Series X retail price. We recommend exploring our breakdown of how Xbox Series X compares to Xbox Series S for an in-depth comparison.
When eyeing up the digital device, decide whether ditching physical media is viable around your entertainment needs. As the industry goes increasingly digital, with subscriptions like Xbox Game Pass on the rise, it's easier than ever to ditch the discs. However, when reliant on used games or stocking an extensive movie collection, forking out for the Xbox Series X could make for a better long-term investment.