For the first time in five generations of PlayStation, Sony has released two PlayStation editions at launch.
First unveiled at their “Future of Gaming” virtual event back on June 11, Sony confirmed the existence of the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. This, unsurprisingly, led to many gamers debating about which one is the better buy. The discussions only intensified once Sony confirmed the $100 price difference between the two consoles.
At $399, the PS5 Digital Edition will effectively replace the PS4 Pro, with the upgraded PS4 console expected to receive a hefty price cut.
Now, with such an attractive price point, there’s no wonder many people see the merits of the PS5 Digital Edition.
But, is it really the better launch purchase? If so, why?
Read on below to find out why we think that the PS5 Digital Edition is the better launch purchase.
PS5 Digital Edition vs PS5 – Similarities and Differences
In terms of hardware, the PS5 Digital Edition and the PS5 are identical.
What this means is that you should expect the same performance out of them. Both are powered by an 8-core AMD Zen 2-based CPU with a custom AMD RDNA 2 GPU, 16GB of GDDR6 RAM, and a custom-designed 825GB SSD.
Now, while it is true that both consoles should perform the same, there are notable differences.
For starters, the PS5 Digital Edition doesn’t have a disc tray. This means that you won’t be able to use physical copies of any media. This doesn’t just include games. This includes other discs like DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which, by the way, now supports 4K video on the standard PS5 console.
The lack of a disc tray shouldn’t be that much of an issue though. The main reason is that, in terms of aesthetics, many have commented that the PS5 Digital Edition looks better.
Without an optical drive causing a noticeable bump, the Digital Edition sports better symmetry that makes it look like the modern console of the two.
Plus, with a $399 price tag, the PS5 Digital Edition is significantly more powerful than its older brother, the PS4 Pro, and its latest disc-less competition, the Xbox Series S, which is a watered-down version of the Xbox Series X.
Are Games for the PS5 Digital Edition Cheaper?
In an ideal world, digital games should be cheaper than their physical copies. This is because they’re cheaper to distribute and to stock. But, that is far from the case in the real world, where physical games are often cheaper, even at launch.
There are many explanations for why this is the case. One of the most prevalent ones was simply because publishers promised retailers years ago that they wouldn’t sell their games online at cheaper prices, even if it made a lot of sense.
Back then, class brick-and-mortar store chains still dominated the market. Even today, they’re still the preferred places for a lot of people to buy their games. Because of this, they still can demand publishers to NOT lower the price of their digital games to the point that they become cheaper than physical copies.
One possible workaround for this is what Nintendo has already done. They’ve allowed retailers to sell digital download codes for their games. However, that was for the Nintendo Switch, and if this happened for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, then both Microsoft and Sony will have effectively made their cheaper all-digital consoles obsolete.
So, yeah, games will not be cheaper on the PS5 Digital Edition.
At least, not at launch.
With that said, there is a silver lining to all of this.
True, games for the PS5 Digital Edition should be more expensive at launch, or at least, the same price as the physical copies. This is a problem. PS5 games are already expected to sell for at least $10 more going forward. This means that you’re not exactly saving money since you’ll have to download a huge chunk of the game first before you get to play it.
This is unlike in physical copies where it’s pretty much going to be plug and play with optional updates.
However, with digital copies and online stores, games often go on sale, at least, for a day or an entire weekend. For example, with promotional campaigns, like a “Publisher Sale” or a “Halloween Sale”, digital copies can sell for less than half of their physical counterparts.
Considering that such massive sales happen almost every month, the cost savings are more apparent.
The only downside is that you can’t expect such sales to happen when a game launches.
Still, the fact that you can expect games to go on sale regularly is better compared to brick-and-mortar stores where such discounts are rare.
Is The Digital Edition a Better Launch Purchase?
In addition to the $100 cost savings, you have to keep in mind that most people won’t be buying the PS5 Digital Edition at launch.
Already, the PS5 is sold out in many physical and online stores. However, the same thing isn’t the case for the PS5 Digital Edition. This means that, if all you care about is getting a PS5 Digital Edition at launch, you’re more likely to get your hands on one on November 12 if you go the digital route.
Plus, with the $100 you’ve saved, you’ll be able to get yourself at least one more launch game for the PS5.
This means that, instead of settling for just one or two games, you could get yourself three or four based on the cost-savings alone. That should last you long enough until PS5 games start selling at a discount later on. This only drives up the value of getting yourself the PS5 Digital Edition.
Is the PS5 Digital Edition for Everybody?
Now, while we do think that the PS5 Digital Edition is the better launch purchase, we understand that it is not for everybody.
You should get the PS5 Digital Edition if:
Your internet connection is stable and not limited
Games for the PS4 have long passed the 100GB mark. The trend is only set to continue going forward. This means that PS5 games should only grow larger. This is a problem if you’re getting the PS5 Digital Edition and your internet isn’t fast enough or is capped, making it difficult to make such large downloads.
If your internet connection is great and you can handle 100GB-plus downloads with ease, then good for you.
If you’ll have to upgrade to a speedier connection, then you might as well get the standard PS5 instead.
You don’t really care for owning physical copies
Traditionalists claim that you don’t really own the game if you buy a digital copy.
If you’re the type to prefer physical copies, then naturally, digital games aren’t for you. But, keep in mind that the world has pretty much moved on from physical copies already. More and more gadgets are starting to ditch optical drives. Most laptops today don’t come with one anymore, for example.
If you don’t really mind having an only digital-only game library, then the PS5 Digital Edition is for you.
You prefer a sleeker and more symmetrical console
Let’s face it. The PS5 is not as good-looking with that bulge. This isn’t to say that it’s an ugly console. However, if a PS5 slim is going to come in a few years, we can expect that bulge to be the first to go.
For now, the best way to make that annoying bump go away is to get the PS5 Digital Edition.
You want to cut costs
As already mentioned, the PS5 Digital Edition sells for only $399.
Compared to the standard edition, which costs $499 at launch, the PS5 Digital Edition is cheaper.
That’s a $100 cost savings right out of the bat. This is only going to grow larger if you’re the patient sort and don’t care for getting your games at launch.
What Do You Give Up If You Get the PS5 Digital Edition?
Now, giving up the optical disc drive might sound like a small thing for a lot of people, but it does come with a number of disadvantages.
Outside of saying goodbye to physical PS5 discs, you’re also giving up the following:
Playing popular disc-based PS4 games
If you previously owned a PS4 and you have a lot of popular CDs, you might as well say goodbye to them if you get the PS5 Digital Edition. But, if most of your games are digital, then this is not a problem for you.
DVD and Blu-ray
You won’t be able to play DVD and Blu-ray movies on the PS5 Digital Edition.
Again, if you already own a PS4 or PS4 Pro and plan on getting a PS5, this shouldn’t be a problem unless you sell the older console. You can use the older PS4 or PS4 Pro as a media console while reserving the PS5 Digital Edition exclusively for gaming.
Collector’s edition packages
Because you don’t exactly get a digital code when you purchase a physical game, getting yourself a collector’s edition package of a game is pretty much a waste of money for the PS5 Digital Edition. This is because you will still end up having to buy the game digitally again, which makes it quite expensive.
A good workaround is to find someone to buy the physical disc from you while you keep all the freebies and goodies.
That feeling of holding a disc on your hand
There’s no denying that many traditionalists make a good point that there’s a different kind of satisfaction from holding something with your hands.
Even if you say that you have no care for that, if it’s your first time going digital, expect the satisfaction of buying a game to feel drastically different. You may or may not end up getting used to this. Either way, it just won’t be the same anymore.
“Digital is the future.”
This is what Sony was banking on when they made the PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.
With that said, we are aware that it’s not for everybody. It’s best for gamers who are unafraid to join in on the all-digital craze. The cost-savings are just a sweet and very welcome bonus at this point.
Now, this might be the natural progression of things. However, the fact remains that a lot of people are still not ready for the transition.
If you, like most folks, aren’t ready to ditch the optical drive just yet, get the standard PS5.
Besides, even if it does cost $100 more, you have the option to get games both physically and digitally. This means that, even if you have no care for physical discs, you still have the option to buy collector’s editions of upcoming titles without having to spend more money.