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PS5 digital vs. disc edition: Which PlayStation 5 is best for you?

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The PlayStation 5 and a controller next to the Playstation 5 All Digital and a controller.
The standard PlayStation 5 (left) next to the PlayStation 5 digital edition (right).

Sony’s PS5 is the fastest selling gaming console of the current generation, and buyers can currently choose between multiple models: the original PS5 with disc drive, an updated slim PS5 with disc drive, and the original PS5 digital edition.

The $400 digital edition is the most affordable model, but it doesn’t have a disc drive for physical media, so you’re limited to playing downloaded games. The $500 original PS5 comes with a 4K Blu-ray drive, and the $500 slim PS5 has a detachable 4K Blu-ray drive.

Sony also plans to release a new slim PS5 digital edition for $450 that will allow owners to purchase a 4K Blu-ray drive add-on at a later date if they decide they want to play physical games or movies. The 4K Blu-ray disc drive will cost $80 on its own.

Digital downloads are both convenient and popular, but there are still some benefits that come from paying a bit more for a PS5 with a disc drive. Most notably, physical games can be bought pre-owned for a discount, resold, or shared with friends and family. The standard PS5 also has the option to play movies from Blu-ray discs, while the all-digital PS5 is limited to streaming.

Whether the standard PS5 is truly worth the extra money over the digital edition really comes down to how heavily you weigh the advantages of its disc drive. Here’s a full breakdown of how the different PS5 models stack up to help you decide if those disc perks are worth it.

PS5 digital vs. disc: Pricing and availability

PS5 Slim models
The slim PS5 and the slim PS5 digital edition.

The original PS5 with disc drive ($500) and PS5 slim with disc drive ($500) both cost $100 more than the original PS5 digital edition ($400). But while cheaper, the digital edition is often shipped to retailers in smaller quantities, so disc-drive PS5s are typically easier to find.

Both of the original PS5 models have been in stock regularly during 2023, but Sony says that the new slim PS5 redesigns will completely replace them once current stock runs out. The new slim version of the PS5 digital edition will cost $450 and is set to hit retailers before the end of the year, but stock is not available as of mid-November.

Sony also bundles PlayStation 5 consoles with popular games; Spider-Man 2 is currently bundled with both the original and slim PS5 disc-drive models, while Call of Duty Modern Warfare III is exclusively bundled with the slim PS5. Bundles featuring Final Fantasy XVI, God of War: Ragnarok, and Horizon Forbidden West have also been available in the past.

Disc-drive PS5 bundles with a game are normally priced at $560, which presents a $10 discount over buying the game and console separately. The Spider-Man 2 and Call of Duty Modern Warfare III bundles are discounted to $500 for Black Friday 2023.

PS5 digital vs. disc: What’s different?

The original PlayStation 5 models offer nearly identical designs and specifications — the only real difference between them is the absence of a 4K Blu-ray disc drive on the digital edition. Along with being unable to play games and movies on Blu-ray disc, the digital edition PS5 is slightly thinner and weighs about 1.3lbs less than the standard version.

The new slim PS5 and slim PS5 digital edition are about 30% smaller than the original models, and once again, the most important difference between them is that the $450 slim PS5 does not include a disc drive. However, the slim digital edition PS5 allows you to add an $80 4K Blu-ray disc drive at a later date. This feature is not available with the original PS5 digital edition.

Outside of slight differences in hardware, all versions of the PS5 deliver the exact same gaming performance. That includes support for gameplay at up to 4K resolution and 120 frames per second on compatible displays, lightning fast load times thanks to the console’s solid state drive, and advanced graphical features like ray tracing on select games.

Every PS5 comes with the same DualSense controller, which offers haptic feedback and has a built-in microphone, and they support all of the best PlayStation accessories.

PS5 digital vs. disc: Games

A screenshot of Joel and Ellie in the last of us game.
Joel and Ellie in The Last of Us video game on PS5.

All PlayStation 5 consoles share the same library of games and the same quality of gameplay, but the disc-drive PS5 models give you more control over where you can buy games and how you play them.

With the disc-drive PS5, games can be played off of discs or via digital downloads. Meanwhile, the digital-edition PS5 limits you to buying and playing downloaded games only.

Digital purchases of PlayStation games are tied to your Sony account. The PlayStation Store is the only place you can buy digital games, so owners of the PS5 digital edition won’t be able to take advantage of deals at retail stores like GameStop and Best Buy.

Though digital game downloads are convenient, having the option to buy physical discs on a standard PS5 gives you the ability to re-sell your games or lend them to a friend. The standard PS5 can also play old PS4 discs via backwards compatibility, while the digital-edition PS5 can only access those games through the PlayStation Store.

Keep in mind, however, many physical games still require an internet connection and significant PS5 storage space to install and play. This means that going with a disc copy on a standard PS5 won’t save you hard drive space versus downloading the game.  

PS5 digital vs. disc: PlayStation Plus

Sony provides a subscription service called PlayStation Plus that offers online multiplayer and a catalog of games to download on the PS5. PlayStation Plus works the same on all PS5 consoles, but digital edition owners might get the most out of the service since certain plans provide easy access to a bunch of PS4 games without the need for a disc drive.

For $10 a month, PlayStation Plus Essential gives gamers access to online play and a monthly selection of free games that will stay in their collection so long as they remain a subscriber. The next two tiers of PlayStation Plus, Extra ($15 a month) and Premium ($18 a month), provide access to more than 400 PS4 and PS5 games; Premium adds even more games from older PlayStation consoles and the option to stream games directly to a PS5.

PS5 digital vs. disc: Specs


Standard PS5 ($500)

Standard slim PS5 ($500)

PS5 digital edition ($400)

Slim PS5 digital edition ($450)

Disc drive

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray 


None (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray drive add-on available for $80) 


825GB M.2 drive

1TB M.2 Drive

825GB M.2 drive

1TB M.2 Drive


Up to 4K resolution at 120Hz with HDMI 2.1

Up to 4K resolution at 120Hz with HDMI 2.1

Up to 4K resolution at 120Hz with HDMI 2.1

Up to 4K resolution at 120Hz with HDMI 2.1


1x USB-C, 3x USB 3.1, 1x Ethernet

2x USB-C, 2x USB 3.1, 1x Ethernet

1x USB-C, 3x USB 3.1, 1x Ethernet

2x USB-C, 2x USB 3.1, 1x Ethernet


AMD Ryzen Zen 2, 8 cores, 16 threads at 3.5 GHz

AMD Ryzen Zen 2, 8 cores, 16 threads at 3.5 GHz

AMD Ryzen Zen 2, 8 cores, 16 threads at 3.5 GHz

AMD Ryzen Zen 2, 8 cores, 16 threads at 3.5 GHz


AMD Radeon RDNA 2 at 2.23 GHz, 10.3 TFlops

AMD Radeon RDNA 2 at 2.23 GHz, 10.3 TFlops

AMD Radeon RDNA 2 at 2.23 GHz, 10.3 TFlops

AMD Radeon RDNA 2 at 2.23 GHz, 10.3 TFlops


GDDR6 16GB, 44GB/s bandwidth

GDDR6 16GB, 44GB/s bandwidth

GDDR6 16GB, 44GB/s bandwidth

GDDR6 16GB, 44GB/s bandwidth

PS5 digital vs. disc: Which should you buy?

A controller sitting on top of the PlayStation Five (PS5).
All PS5 models come with a DualSense controller.

All PlayStation 5 models deliver the same gaming performance, but the disc-drive PS5 models could offer more value in the long run depending on your buying habits. It currently costs an extra $100, but it lets you play old PS4 discs, used copies of games, and borrowed discs from friends, which might end up saving you money over time. It also doubles as a 4K Blu-ray player for movies.

The digital-edition PlayStation 5 is still a great pickup, especially if you want to save money upfront, but it’s better for gamers who don’t already have a collection of PlayStation discs and don’t need the PS5 to be the center of their home entertainment system. Unlike the more affordable Xbox Series S, the digital edition PS5 doesn’t have performance drawbacks, which makes it feel like less of a sacrifice for the price difference.

Consider the standard PS5 if …

  • You already own physical PS4 games you want to play on your PS5
  • You want to play movies on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray disc
  • You want to buy used PS5 games or discounted physical copies

Consider the PS5 digital edition if …

  • You want to save $100 on your console purchase
  • You only want digital games and don’t mind buying from Sony’s store
  • You don’t need the option to trade in your used games


Is the PS5 more powerful than the digital edition?

The PS5 digital edition offers the exact same performance as the standard PS5, just without a disc drive. Other than the disc drive, both models use the same internal hardware.

Does the PS5 have more storage than the digital edition?

Both original PlayStation 5 consoles have an 825GB solid state drive, though the system software leaves you with 667GB to use for games and other storage. Meanwhile, both slim PS5 models have a 1TB SSD.

The storage space can be upgraded with a M.2 solid state drive that meets the PS5’s speed requirements. Check out our guide to the best SSDs for PS5 for our top recommendations. 

Can you download and play digital games if you have the PS5 disc version?

The PlayStation Store operates the same way for digital purchases on the standard PS5 and the digital edition. Your Sony account and purchases can be shared between multiple PlayStation consoles too.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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