Does it really make sense to go discless next gen?

Depending on what part of the world you live in, you may have recently woken up to a shiny new PS5 or Xbox Series X sitting outside your door.

It’s a feeling akin to Gamer Christmas, and for those lucky enough to be enjoying Sony or Microsoft’s latest shiny offerings, these boxes offer a much-needed pick me up after a turd-tastic year. Yet, while there’s a TON to be excited about for both companies’ offerings, there’s one unique omission that makes this console generation unlike any other – the option to go without a disc drive. Thanks to services like Gamepass and a drive toward digital, discless next gen SKUs seemingly make more sense than ever. But in an age where publishers can remove digital games from the store at will, is the short term saving on the discless next gen console variant really better value for the consumer overall?

TLDR? To disc or not to disc, that is the question? For our money, going discless next gen offers short term gains, but will end up costing more in the long run. Let’s assess both consoles’ discless’ editions, then shall we? Xbox’s lower specked discless next gen offering, Xbox Series S will set you back a surprisingly affordable £249.99, compared to its pricier older brother, the £449.99 Xbox Series X. For PS5, gamers can choose between the same specs – just with or without a discdrive, priced at £449.99 and £359.99 respectively.

With Microsoft offering its Netflix-esque digital subscription service, Gamepass, there’s definitely an argument to be made to go digital for Xbox Series. Yet the problem comes when you want to buy one of the many games that aren’t on Gamepass. With game prices rising to an eye-watering £69.99 for next gen consoles, when it comes to digital purchases, a discless next gen console means you are stuck withjthat price. While different retailers offer competitive prices on disc based games, and these games slowly fall over time, with digital, you are stuck entirely at the mercy of the publisher in question. If your friend wants to lend you some of their game collection? That’s no longer an option without your trusty old disc drive. If a game like Konami’s hastily removed PT or Scott Pilgrim gets wiped from the store? On a discless next gen console, it’s gone forever. If you have a disc, however, that game is yours to keep until the end of the time. Well, until you lose that disc behind the sofa, anyway.

With Sony having no true Gamepass equivalent, the argument for a discless PS5 seems even feebler. Otherwise the same arguments above apply. With next gen titles costing even more this time around, the ability to be able to trade in your completed games feels more necessary than ever. The best part of sticking with a disk drive? You can always opt to go digital if you please too! It just means that you have options, rather than being tied into a discless next gen console for the next five and a bit years.

While going all-digital definitely has its appeals (saving shelf space feels pretty important to me in my tiny London flat) it’s not enough to make us want to commit to shelling out £69.99 for every future game purchase. Hell, we’ve already found several next gen physical titles on sale for under £60. Sorry digital friends, while going discless may make more sense in the future, for now, it seems too costly.

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