PlayStation 5: Disc vs. Digital

Connor Edrington
5 min readJun 16, 2020


When Sony showcased the PlayStation 5 last Thursday they shocked the world by showing two different skews, one with a disc drive and one without.

It has been pretty obvious that we would be getting more digital-only consoles moving forward. First, there have been many consoles makers/devs that have said that their games sold the same or better on digital when compared to physical. Second, we saw the Xbox One S All Digital Edition make its appearance at the end of this console generation.

While seeing a PlayStation 5 all digital edition really isn’t all that weird, it still does come as a shock because I never expected it at the launch of the console generation. I figured both Sony and Microsoft would eventually bring out an all digital version of their consoles. I thought the all digital versions would be comparable to the slim editions that come later, like we have seen in previous console generations.

Which brings us to why I wanted to write this article. The announcement of the two different versions of the PlayStation 5 has been causing me some heartache. I am trying to decide which version of the PlayStation 5 that I will be getting in the future. It is my hope that this article may help others that are having some trouble deciding which version of the PlayStation 5.

So I am going to do 3 positives for each editions of the PlayStation 5 in an effort to help you, the reader, decide which version you may want to purchase.

Playstation 5 with Disc Drive

  1. Backwards Compatibility

If you have a PlayStation 4 and own many of your games physically it may be a good reason to go with the PlayStation 5 that comes with the disc drive. This is one of the biggest reasons that I am leaning toward the disc drive model. I own many PlayStation 4 games physically and would prefer not to lose all those games. While I would love to be able to make the move to an all digital console. I would need a program similar to Microsoft allowing players to trade in their games for digital codes to fully commit.

2. 4K Blu-ray

This is something that will not matter to everyone buying a PlayStation 5, but I believe that it is important and possibly overlooked. The PlayStation 5 will feature a 4K disc drive that will allow people to enjoy 4K movies. While I know that some people have great internet that allows them to get a high res video when streaming, the truth is that 4K on disc will be a better picture. Streaming video is still a compressed format, so even if you have quality internet it wont look as good as it does on disc. If you are really into movies the PlayStation 5 with the disc drive may be the correct choice.

3. Sales

While platforms like Steam, GoG and etc. have helped to increase the amount of deals that we see on the PSN Store, it is hard not to check online for deals on the physical versions. During the Days of Play sale (that is currently going on) I was thinking about buying Horizon Zero Dawn with the Frozen Wilds DLC. When I went to buy it, it was not on sale and was listed as $19.99, I decided to go check Amazon and It was $9.99 for the same version on disc. The truth is that losing the drive impacts the potential of getting the physical version on a good sale.

PlayStation 5 Digital Edition

1. More Space, convenience

One of the biggest reasons that I would like to own the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition is that I would not have to have boxes of games all over my house. While I love game cases and the art that they, sometimes include on the inside of the sleeves, they take up a lot of room after a while. I am also starting to get tire of having to change out a game any time that I want to play a different game every time. I will turn on my console and start to sit down, then see that the game I want to play is not in my console. I think that it would be great to just have all my games in one place.

2. Price

The fact of the matter is that there is one reason why the Digital Edition exists, price. I think that the digital edition will be the cheaper version of the console. Sony had the PlayStation 4 at a great price with the $399.99 price point last generation. I believe that they announced the Digital Edition to be the $399.99 or as similar to that price version of the console as they can get. It must mean the other version of the console is going to be $499.99 and Sony was worried that this might turn some people away after they did so well with the $399.99 launch price last generation.

3. Design

While I am actually a big fan of the look of both versions of the PlayStation 5, I think that the Digital Edition has a better design. The two sides of the console being identical is a better design choice in my opinion. While I like the asymmetrical look of the other version as well, I just feel that I would be happier with the design of the Digital Edition on my shelf.

Well there it is three different positives for both versions of the PlayStation 5. I hope that some of these different qualities can help players decide which version of the console they may consider purchasing. We still are a ways off from the release of the console, so keep checking back for more about the PlayStation 5.