PlayStation 5 is an elusive console for many. It has been a very turbulent launch for Sony, and likewise for prospective PlayStation 5 owners. Sony launched PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition on November 12, 2020 in United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition also arrived November 19, 2020 everywhere else. Today, we’re going to talk about the difference between PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.
During Black Friday, Cyber Monday, restocks, and Christmas Eve or Day, many flocked to the major retailers in hopes of finding a PlayStation 5 console as a gift, or getting one for their kids or family member, or friends. Whatever the case may be. Most parents will undoubtedly go for the cheaper console, without understanding what you can do, and can’t do on the console. This understanding goes double for Xbox Series S & X, which undoubtedly is more headaches for parents than it has to be.
Under the hood, the PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 5 Digital Edition has the following specs:
8x Zen 2 Cores at 3.5GHz (variable frequency)
10.28 TFLOPs, 36 CUs at 2.23GHZ (variable frequency)
Custom RDNA 2
Custom 825GB SSD
5.5 GB/s (Raw), Typical 8-9GB/s (Compressed)
NVMe SSD Slot
USB HDD Support
There is no noticeable differences unless you want an Optical Drive, since this is Sony we’re talking about here, the PlayStation 5 has an 4K UHD Blu-ray Drive. That‘s “PlayStation 5,” not the other model, “PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.”
That is the “PlayStation 5 Digital Edition.” That is $399 MSRP. Notice that there isn’t a disc drive on the side? That would mean you won’t be able to insert your PS5 discs or your PS4 discs (more on that later.)
With “PlayStation 5 Digital Edition,” you can download your newly purchased PS5 games from the online PlayStation Store. You can also download your newly purchased PS4 games from the online PlayStation Store, too. If you already have a PS4, and you purchased games via PlayStation Store, you can download and play it on your PS5. (I promise, I’ll come back to this subject later.)
Sony intended this to be the “base” model of the PlayStation 5, following Microsoft’s lead on forcing digital-only future. Microsoft wants gaming to go fully digital. Most game companies are also hoping for this, too… I’ll talk about this subject later, but let me get back to the subject at hand.
That is “PlayStation 5.” That is $499 MSRP. This is the model everyone wants. This is the model, where you can insert your newly purchased PlayStation 5 game discs from your favorite game retailer. This is the model, where you can insert your newly purchased or previously purchased PlayStation 4 game discs.
As previously noted before: Either one of the PlayStation 5 models allows you to download PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 games online. Some games are known as “Cross-Gen” games, so if you happen to get the physical PlayStation 4 disc of say… Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, you can play it on PlayStation 5 via backward compatibility. However, to get the full experience of what PlayStation 5 offers, always get the PlayStation 5 version. Always.
Don’t throw your old PlayStation 4 discs away, since PlayStation 5 is backward compatible with PS4 discs. This is due to the manufacturer of the chip already in PS5. AMD did the PS4’s GPU, so much of the code is already present in AMD’s PS5 GPU known as “Navi.”
In closing: I hope this helps parents make educated understanding of what they’re buying. You can buy either model, since under the hood, the specs are identical. The thing you need to realize is that there are players who prefers disc consoles over the digital consoles. A digital console means that, the console has to be “always online.” As in, if you want to play multiplayer games, it must be online. If you purchased the Digital Edition, you will have to purchase games online via the PlayStation Store from your console. There’s a website for the store, but you will need to download the games onto your PS5 to make use of the game you purchased.
Why does the Digital Edition exist? As a business owner, the keyword is “Choice.” However, as I mentioned before, both Microsoft, game developers, and publishers want this “Digital Only” future to grow. Sony is somewhat on the fence about the subject, even though that their original idea was for “PlayStation 5 Digital Edition” to be the only model on the market. The thing is though, there are players who want a disc drive for their console to have a “tangible” game in their hands, rather than being beholden to a digital store, where the company decides what goes on the store, when the game goes down, and whatnot. If Sony unveiled only the Digital Edition at the reveal event [see below], Sony would have a huge pushback from players worldwide. I mean, we’re talking about a company that shipped and sold 500 Million PlayStation consoles across 4 generations.
The idea of the store being “standard” is to reduce costs for developers and publishers. However, it would be bad for gamers in general, because already, game publishers (often owns the developers) are looking to create their own “membership” system, kinda like Netflix. So, we would have to subscribe to these memberships in order to play our favorite games. What’s next? Downloadable content is sold as $70 games? That happened a few times. I can already see an economic downturn for the industry if companies keep this up.
So, advice: Don’t. Buy. PlayStation 5 Digital Edition. You are telling Sony, that you want a digital future. You would be encouraging it.
If you want a real world example of what I just said about digital stores: Recently, Sony removed Cyberpunk 2077 from PlayStation Store due to a high volume of refunds requested by players because of outstanding bugs, glitches, slowdowns, and other errors.
As a policy, Sony does NOT normally offer refunds. Cyberpunk 2077 is the first game to force that “refund.” Some games has shipped incomplete, such as No Man’s Sky, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and more. Most of the time, the glitches, bugs, errors are in the 10% of the issues found after launch of a game, but most companies comply with the certification process by releasing a what’s known as a “Day Zero” or “Day One” patch. These patches usually fixes the “outstanding” 10% bugs list leftover on developers’ desks.
Other examples are: Sony and Microsoft removed Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 from their respective stores due to licensing issues such as license expiry of Marvel Vs. Capcom 2. Konami asked Sony to removed a well-known demo called “P.T.” from PlayStation Store.