Physical or Digital?

Title says it all lads.

Do you prefer your games bought digitally on a storefront I.e. Steam, PSN etc OR on a disc in your shelf?

Personally on PC I always get games from GOG and Steam because obviously most titles are digital and it is convenient for me. (Despite owning TF2 on disc since 2007! Yep!)

When it’s consoles though, I always wanna get it on disc and I am glad I go the extra mile for it especially when new games like SF6 are on preowned sales. Look at the PSN fiasco with shows, this is why I prefer physical media on consoles because you can keep it.

PC = Convenience, laziness and most are digital only anyway

Console = Don’t want scummy corpos taking stuff I bought away from me, disc it is.

Your thoughts lads?

Krudler, (edited )

I can log on to anybody’s computer in the world, install Steam, and have full access to my entire game library.

I can make almost anybody I know (with limits) a “family member” and share my library.

I can stream my games from my computer to my phone.

My steam deck lets me play my entire library anywhere.

I see no personal benefit to using physical media anymore.

I guess a disclaimer would be that I trust Valve but you truthfully, I don’t trust all game companies/vendors.

bigmclargehuge, avatar

Here’s my perspective as a PC player. Even back in the early 2000s, discs were mostly just a form of DRM. When you install the game from a disc, 99% of the time, the installer copies the contents of the disk to your hard drive, then the disk just acts as a key in order to “unlock” your installed copy. No-cd patches just make the game think the disc is inserted when it’s not.

Today, the only difference is the delivery method, and it’s where things can get a little hazy. Steam is where I own most of my games, and I do like Steam and Valve, and consider them pretty trustworthy in terms of large tech companies. But, even so, because the only way I’m really able to get games from Steam is through their servers, there are situations that are out of my control where a game that was once available to me, no longer is.

This is why I’m starting to prefer GOG. They have a zero DRM policy, and offer offline installers for most of their games. Meaning, if I purchase a game, I download that installer, load it onto a thumb drive, and I effectively have that game forever, no matter what happens to GOG, the developer, the publisher, etc. I have a couple of games that have been lost to time officially, that I can install as easy as the day they came out because I have that offline installer. It’s as good as having any CD game.

So, bottom line is, CD, no CD, I really don’t care. Give me the installer, and guarantee I don’t be locked out of my game because of something I can’t control, and I’m happy.

the16bitgamer, avatar

I tried to buy physical PC games as recently as 2014, and what i got was a steam code and and 8 DVD’s, and the game still needed a patch to work. So Physical on PC games to me is DRM free. I can put it on my own thumbdrive/USB to make it physical if I wanted it to be.

As for my preference. It depends on the game and deal. If I know I want the game, and I’ll buy it no matter what, then I’ll aim for the DRM Free copy.

Otherwise it depends on the sale. I mean for $3 I don’t mind loosing access to SimCity 3000, $3 is a good price even for limited access. Let alone free.

What I refuse to buy is a offline game like GTA 5 that requires a proprietary launcher and account to even play. Here I will just abandon PC gaming entirely and go to consoles. Rock Star, Ubisoft, EA games in particular I primarily buy on consoles.


Honestly digital for me all the way, of course I object to some of the questionable delicious by some companies regarding taking away digital owned media, but as long as it’s not an issue digital.

I’m a very indicisive person and it’s so much better to just be able to switch the game without getting up and going halfway across the room, going through the process of putting it back in the case and taking a new one out until I figure out what I want to play.


PC: Digital if on a trusted platform like Steam or the game is free. Otherwise I’m just not buying the game.

Console: Physical, as I can resell the games I purchased.


All games now are digital. Just because you have the disk doesn’t mean you can play it. It’s just a trinket now. This question doesn’t really work anymore. Maybe 10 years ago it makes sense to ask, when physical disks actually contained the full game, but now the disk is mostly just a code to access the digital copy. If you want to have a physical display of your games, sure buy a physical copy. That takes up far too much space for me though, so I stick to digital. I’m exclusively on computer though.


Digital, haven’t had a working disk drive in like 10 years, two laptops ago was broken, previous and current laptop just don’t come with one.




Digital only, cheapest price that isn’t Epic.

I prefer not to devote myself to any one storefront, and while Valve is very altruistic I think healthy competition is one of the things that keeps PC gaming storefronts at their best.

Even on consoles, I prefer to go digital; saves bookcase space.


PC? All digital.

Consoles? All physical

I do t play games on console all that often so I’d rather the option to pick up a cheap used copy. Plus I could play that game any number of years down the road when the servers are long shut down. But on PC I just want to click the button and the game installs and opens.

ripcord, avatar

This is the way.


I have a PS5 physical so I buy all my single player games second hand and then sell them for basically the same price. The only digital games I’ve bought have been Elden Ring, Helldivers, and Spiderman Miles Morales.


I’ve been pretty much all-digital since… Steam came out. Outside of Switch games (I dont trust Nintendo with how they handle their NNID system. it’s just janky), it doesn’t really make sense for me to buy physical copies. The obvious benefit there is resale, but I can rarely afford new games, so by the time I either get them, or finish playing them, they’ve already dropped in value entirely

Aielman15, (edited ) avatar

I like collecting physical copies of games I like and that I want to display on my shelves. For example, I have the entire Ace Combat franchise on disc, the collector’s edition of Ori and Crosscode, and a few artbooks for certain games that I love (Spyro, Plague Tale, Oddworld). I also bought the entire Resident Evil saga on xbox (Origins, R2make, R3make, R4master, R5master, R6master, R7 Gold, Code Veronica, Revelations 1 and 2) because I got most of them for cheap.

Digital storefronts are either for games that I didn’t care to have a physical copy of, or when a physical copy doesn’t exist. When I do buy digital, I usually buy on GoG when possible, as it’s the most future-proof option available. I do have a big digital collection on Xbox thanks to their generous Rewards program, but it got nerfed hard in the last few months, so I don’t think it will increase much in the future (I don’t plan on buying another Xbox console, and the MS Store on Windows sucks hard).

astrsk avatar

Depends on the system’s media for me.

Cartridge-based? Physical for all 1st and 2nd party titles, digital for indie/3rd party unless I really enjoyed it or it had a worthwhile collectors edition. I’d say about an 80-20 split due to some games not releasing physical, and some that do but I also get digital for convenience.

Disc based? Probably just digital these days. Exceptions for worthwhile collectors editions and special runs (indie games etc.) Roughly 10-90 split because PC/steam is in this list and despite owning a launch day disc model PS5, I just ordered my first physical copy of a game (Baulder’s Gate 3 collectors) and the other collectors edition I bought was God of War Ragnarok which came with everything except a game disc (steel game case, digital code… sigh).

ricdeh, avatar

The discs are also digital! The correct terminology would be “virtual”.

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