A few days ago it was reported that a new Microsoft patent demonstrated a method for validating and converting Xbox game discs to digital downloads. A deeper look at the patent description suggests that the process may involve a "secondary device" which in all likelihood would come in the form of an external disc drive that could be connected to the Xbox Series S.
According the patent summary, the process of validating physical game discs would involve two devices, the first of which would be the game console. The second device, for example, "may comprise an optical disc comprising the electronic content...If the second device is able to validate the user's ownership of the electronic content, the first device is provided access to the electronic content."
The second device being described is clearly an optical disc drive, and judging from the patent description it would be able to connect to Xbox servers independently. At present the Xbox Series S has no external disc drive solution. Such a device would certainly be a boon for those eyeing the more affordable (albeit digital-only) next generation Xbox who are concerned over backward-compatibility with their previous generation games.
Of course, many patents never see the light of day on the consumer retail market, though many have been speculating since before the platform's launch that Microsoft would eventually implement such a feature for its all-digital console.