Why the PS5 With a Disc Drive Is the One You Want

Download woes be gone

Key Takeaways

  • While the all-digital PS5 is cheaper, the regular PS5 is a better value for consumers.
  • The added benefits of the disc-drive will allow more room for backwards compatibility with disc-based PS4 games..
  • Having a disc drive will give users more ways to purchase games without having to worry about storage space and download speeds.
PlayStation 5s displayed with pricing information.
 Sony

While the Digital Edition PlayStation 5 is roughly $100 less expensive, picking up the PS5 with a disc drive is the best way for gamers to get the most out of their next-gen console.

With the reveal of two PS5 editions back in September, Sony gave PlayStation fans two ways to buy into the next generation of gaming. For just $399, gamers could pick up an all digital version of the PS5 or they could pick up the $499 option, which includes an Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc drive. While the $100 savings might seem appealing, ultimately the regular PS5 is the better buy thanks to its inclusion of the disc drive.

"The disc version of the PS5 serves the lifelong PlayStation fans," Oleg Deneka, the founder of TechPriceCrunch and an avid gamer, wrote in an email. "If you’re a superfan who buys limited edition steelbooks of your favorite franchise’s releases, then you’re going to get the disc anyway." 

More Money, More Compatibility

One of the biggest perks to sticking with the drive-based iteration of the PS5 is backward compatibility. While you might be willing to play most of your PS5 games as digital editions, any PS4 games that you have on discs will not be usable with an all digital PS5. Because of this, going with the more expensive variant would prove more valuable to long-time PlayStation users, especially those who enjoy collecting special editions of their favorite games, as Deneka notes above.

Many games, especially the big releases like Cyberpunk 2077, offer Collector’s Editions, which include special collectible game cases in the form of steelbooks (a metal case to show off on your shelf).

The Cyberpunk 2077 Steelbooks
 CD Projekt

If someone chooses to go with a Digital Edition PS5, then the game discs that come with that collector set would be unusable with the PlayStation 5. As such, getting a PS5 with a disc drive is the only way to ensure that any disc games in their library can still be played.

Storage and Download Woes

Another big concern for gamers picking up the PlayStation 5 is storage. Sony has already confirmed that the PS5 won’t support SSD expansion at launch, and with some games like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War averaging over 100GB on consoles, having plenty of storage space is important.

With a disc drive, gamers could pick up the disc version of the game, allowing much of the initial storage to not be stored on the console itself. This won’t be a problem forever, but it is something for users to keep in mind during these early days.

"If you don’t have reliable internet connectivity at home, the disc version is the obvious choice as you don’t need to set time for lengthy online downloads to get your games," Deneka told us.

According to a report by Microsoft on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband data, roughly 157.3 million people—almost half of the United State’s population—do not use the internet at the FCC’s minimum broadband speeds of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. 

The average download speed in the United States is 161.14 Mbps, according to Speedtest.net. Based on the Microsoft report, almost half of the country’s population isn’t even getting a fourth of that average speed.

Screenshot from the Speedtest.net website.

This means larger game files like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will take much longer to download in their entirety. A 100GB file would take roughly nine and a half hours to download on a connection with 25Mbps per a download time calculator. By using a PS5 with a disc drive, users can negate these long download times (thought here are still big update files to contend with, but that’s another story).

No matter how you break it down, then, the PlayStation 5 with a disc drive is the best option. Sure, it’s going to cost $100 more, but PlayStation fans will have access to all their disc-based games, while also eliminating any possible issues they might run into with slow internet speeds and large game download sizes.