Sony has announced the PlayStation 5 and you want one. However, the PS5 comes in two models: the standard Console Edition and the Digital Edition. Which one is right for you?
This article will present a side-by-side comparison of these units including their respective specifications, anticipated capabilities, and how much both PS5 consoles cost.
What We Know About the PS5
Gamers have been ruminating upon the release of a PlayStation 5 since the launch of PlayStation 4. We’ve only known for sure that there was going to be a PS5 since October 2018, with a gradual release of information from Sony since then.
Sony finally unveiled the PS5 in a livestream and subsequent press release on June 11, 2020. The video toured both the standard PS5, as well as the more streamlined Digital Edition and accessories. More about the consoles and accessories including prices were officially announced in September 2020.
Sony has also said that the PS5 will be backward-compatible with PS4 games but hasn’t released many details. As some PS4 titles are billed for re-release on the new console, that could have an effect on whether currently existing copies of the game are compatible with PS5. It could also mean that there won’t be a way to move PS4 games from discs to the PS5 Digital Edition.
What Are the Two Models of PlayStation 5?
The PS5 will come out in a $500 standard Console Edition and a $400 all Digital Edition with no disk drive. Both models have the same hardware specifications, namely an 8 core Ryzen CPU, AMD Radeon GPU, 16GB system memory, and 825GB SSD. Both also have three USB Type-A Ports, and one USB Type-C Port.
A series of accessories including DualSense wireless controllers and charging station, a media remote, a PULSE 3D Wireless headset, and a dual 1080p HD camera will also be compatible with both editions.
The Standard Console Edition
The standard Console Edition includes an optical drive capable of playing PS5 games, and backward-compatible PS4 games (and there are plenty of great PS4 games worth playing). You will also be able to run DVDs and Ultra HD Blu-rays. The console itself weighs in at just under 10 pounds. When laid down, it measures 15 x 4 x 10 inches.
According to Sony, a selection of highly-anticipated PS5 titles will launch on physical copies compatible with the PS4. They will then also work in the new console. This is “to support the PlayStation 4 community as they transition to the next generation when they’re ready.”
The Digital Edition
Excepting those things mentioned above, there really aren’t a lot of differences between the two versions of the console. As mentioned, the Digital Edition doesn’t have more storage or a faster processor or more input options than the standard Console Edition.
The Digital Edition is the same width and depth as the standard Console Edition but is slightly lighter (at 8.5 pounds), and slightly sleeker (at 3.6 inches tall when laid flat). It also requires 10 fewer Watts of power.
PS5 games that you can buy on PS4 as digital copies, and then upgrade to PS5 versions for free when you get the console, will also be available.
Differences Between the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition
The Digital Edition’s lack of a disc drive is worth revisiting for a couple of reasons. It may have an impact on how you watch media and play games, as well as dictating which edition of the console is right for you.
Using the Disc Drive as a Blu-ray Player
In addition to physical games, the disc drive on the PS5 Console Edition will double as an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player. Even if you only ever play digital copies of games, having a Blu-ray player built into your gaming console for an extra $100 has some advantages.
Sure, it means one less piece of hardware on the shelf. However, buying the PS5 Console Edition is cheaper than buying the Digital Edition and a separate Blu-ray player. Sony’s Ultra HD Blu-ray players start at $200. Meanwhile, the PS5 Console Edition is only $100 more expensive than the Digital Edition.
How Will the Lack of a Disc Drive Affect Gaming?
Some gamers have become converts to digital gaming because digital games don’t take up physical space. However, some gamers still prefer hard copies of games. Games on discs take up less digital space and are seen as collectors’ items by some.
Another benefit of physical games has to do with their resale value. Buying a game, playing through it, and reselling it won’t be possible with the digital-only PS5. Further, as mentioned above, we don’t entirely understand how backward-compatibility is going to work on the PS5 yet, but it may require a physical PS4 disc and the capacity to read it on PS5.
The benefits of physical games can also be impacted by how many different games you’re likely to play in a given time frame. The presale information on PS5 games recommends minimum available storage between 26GB and 66GB per game.
An average of 43.5GB/game on the PS5’s standard memory yields 19 midsize games with no DLC before a Digital Edition owner has to invest in external memory. If you’re a gamer who favors larger games and lots of DLC, that number can go down pretty quickly.
If you’re looking forward to low latency on mainly-online games like Fortnite and Fall Guys, you’re probably in good shape with the Digital Edition. If you can’t wait for fast loading times and immersive visuals in AAA games like the next Assassin’s Creed or Elder Scrolls game, you might want to think about the standard Console Edition.
PlayStation Network Account and PlayStation Plus Requirement
With no disc drive, all games (as well as other media including music, movies, and television) purchased for the PS5 Digital Edition will have to be purchased in digital form, so a PlayStation Network account is the difference between owning a console and a paperweight.
Of course, a PlayStation Network account and PlayStation Plus is still required for the PS5 standard Console Edition if you want to do things like play games online. PlayStation Plus also includes free digital games each month.
Which Model of PS5 Is Right for You?
Which PS5 model is right for you depends principally on how you’re currently using your PS4.
If you mainly play physical copies of games and watch a lot of Blu-rays on your PS4, shelling out the extra $100 for the standard PS5 will allow you to continue playing those titles and watching movies on physical media.
If you primarily use your PS4 for streaming movies, television, music, and mainly play digital copies of games anyway, then the PS5 Digital Edition will give you more of what you want. And it’ll save you some money too.
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PS5 vs. PS5 Digital Edition: Which One Should You Buy?