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Published on July 31st, 2020 | by gareth


Digital Or UHD Playstation 5: Which Version Will Consumers Pick

This morning my inbox started to be filled with e-mails from various companies touting UHD versions of classic movies. This was followed by the announcements that this is just the start and that plans are underway to remaster several older films to the 4K UHD format.

While UHD has been around for a while; there is a renewed interest in the format and that is likely connected to the pending release of the Xbox Series X and Playstation 5 consoles.

Since both systems offer a UHD equipped model it stands to reason that consumers may want to make the leap to UHD and will want to upgrade their standard and Blu-Ray classics to the new format.

This does however lead to a very interesting choice for consumers who are planning to purchase the Playstation 5; Disc or digital version.

While prices have not been revealed and I am not going to speculate on them; I think most people can agree that the Digital version of the system will likely be cheaper than the UHD equipped model simply due to the fact that it will have a higher manufacturing cost due to having extra hardware installed.

Digital gaming has become standard as it is rare for us in the media to get physical copies of games to review. Usually we are sent an e-mail with a code to download and install the game. If you look at retailers such as Gamestop they have lamented the shrinking demand for physical media and how it has greatly impacted their business.

Many gamers have PS4 discs and are eager to take advantage of the rumored Backwards Compatibility of the system so would possibly lean more towards a UHD version to be able to play older games on a new system which in turn frees up the older system for other uses or to help fun a new system.

There is also the matter of streaming services as more and more consumers are getting their movies and shows digitally.

DVD sales have dropped 86% since 2006 and this was largely a factor of the rise of the Blu-ray format. However Blu-ray sales have reportedly dropped 50% in the last five years and some manufacturers have stopped making Blu-ray players altogether.

The question at hand is if supplies of both system formats are not an issue; which format will consumers select; digital or UHD? For myself I am opting for the UHD version as covering movies is a part of what we do and we do get physical copies of movies; some of which come in a UHD/Blu-ray combo pack. Naturally we have an interest in taking advantage of this and being able to use them without having to buy an additional piece of hardware in addition to the Playstation 5 is appealing.


There is also the matter of larger file sizes. I remember when games appeared on a Floppy Disc and saw them evolve from this to 3.5 discs and CD-ROM formats. One interesting thing I noted was how remastered and reissued games often had a larger install size for newer technology.

While there are abundant reasons for this it is clear that games now have a larger install size than games when the Playstation 4 first arrived.

It stands to reason that the Playstation 5 games will have a larger install size as time goes on and as such even with higher internet speeds; the ability to install from a disc versus a download may be appealing as it will allow players to get into the action faster. This of course assumes consumers are willing to go to a store or wait for a shipment to arrive version making a digital purchase.

On the other hand; a likely lower priced Digital version does free up extra funds for gamers to purchase games, extra controllers, or streaming content for the potential difference in price.

Forbes and other industry publications have been skeptical about the demand for UHD and the potential of 8K players down the road as they point out that UHD players have been around since 2015 and they have not had a significant impact on the market.

Time will tell which version of the Playstation 5 consumers will purchase; Sony seems to think that there is still plenty of life left in Physical media.


About the Author

Syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site and publication “Skewed and Reviewed”. He has three books of film, game reviews and interviews published and is a well-received and in demand speaker on the convention circuit. Gareth has appeared in movies and is a regular guest on a top-rated Seattle morning show. He has also appeared briefly in films such as “Prefountaine”, “Postal”. “Far Cry”. and others. Gareth is also an in-demand speaker at several conventions and has conducted popular panels for over two decades.

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