Digital or physical? It's an age-old question that only started being asked just recently. Once all of our consoles were constantly connected to the Internet, we entered a world where it was no longer necessary to trudge out to your local game store to acquire the newest game. You can now sit in the comfort of your own home and the games come to you. If you have a PlayStation 4 and you're having trouble deciding what format to buy games in, read on and we will go over the benefits of each format in order to help you choose
All in on Digital
Saving space- If you are a gamer with an unending thirst for new games but a finite amount of space, then digital may be the way to go. You can build a massive library of games which only consumes space on your hard drive but none in meatspace. With hard drives that take up barely any room, your library can continue to grow without needing to make your space do the same
Get games sooner- If you want to start playing a game the very second that release day starts, then you probably want to go digital. Often, with digital releases you can pre-install the game and the moment midnight strikes, you can start playing. Your friends that play physical games will have to wait until the store opens in the morning. And even if there is a midnight release at a local retailer, physical gamers will almost always have to download some updates before they get started.
Savings– If you're looking to save some bucks, you may want to look to the PSN Store. In what seems to be an obvious attempt to compete with Steam, PSN has offered some pretty incredible sales and discounts in the last few years. Brick and mortar retailers are often unable to offer such deep discounts, especially with a great membership like PlayStation Plus. If savings is your number one priority, then digital may be your best solution.
Only Physical for me!
Visibility is key– Some of us absolutely love seeing all of our games stacked up in neat little rows, and this is an itch that a digital library simply cannot scratch. It's a great way to show off all of the options you have to visitors, and you can look pretty cool with physical games. If you like having a visible library of games to look at and show off to your friends, then physical games are definitely going to be the choice for you.
Resale value- One thing that digital games simply cannot offer is the ability to resell your games. If you're the sort of person that finishes a game and never picks it up again, then it might make sense to take it back to your brick and mortar in order to make a dent in the cost of your next purchase. You might also be able to send it to a friend or family member for the amount you bought it for, breaking even on your game. Who doesn't love sharing games so others can feel the way you do about a game?
Buy local- Another upside to buying physical games is that it offers you the opportunity to support local gaming shops in your area. If the ability to go into a store and browse games is a thing that's important to you, then it's important to remember to spend some money there. If you want to ensure that game shops don't go the way of the video stores, then this is something to keep in mind.
Or don't buy local- If you don't give a hoot about supporting your local gaming shops, you can always order through Amazon. For the most part, if you pre-order games through Amazon, they will arrive the day they are released. In addition, if you are an Amazon Prime member and you pre-order a game, you can get about twenty percent off of your purchase. If you don't have an Amazon Prime membership, you can try it free for one month here
Ultimately, the choice between digital and physical formats is a matter of preference. Although we can list ways for you to decide, you have to figure out what is most important to you and your game library. Make your decision based on those needs and you'll be happy for the rest of your gaming life. There is no right or wrong answer, just the one that fits your lifestyle best.
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Updated August 2018: Updated with details about ordering physical through Prime
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