I downloaded the Bioshock Infinite 60-minute trial from the PlayStation Store. It contains the full game but the download was about 6 GB. I might buy the full game off PSN but I'm not going to pay full price (which is really just an unlock license for the trial) for a game with compressed video and textures.

Can anybody with a downloaded copy and disc copy tell me if PSN titles are compressed? Spec Ops: The Line, which I downloaded, looks down right awful at times.

Note: I'm aware the titles are probably losslessly compressed (eg: (7)zip, gzip, etc) and then extracted, but I'm referring to lossy compression made to the game's resources.

  • The PC (Steam) version of Infinite is about 18 GB. Considering that most of the space is wasted on 3D models and textures, and that consoles usually feature lower-res textures and lower-poly models for reasons of performance... Well, 6 GB does seem a little strange nonetheless... One explanation might be, that the Steam version is uncompressed, while the PSN one is compressed. The only difference would be longer loading times for the compressed version, though.
    – Nolonar
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 16:54

3 Answers 3


You've got your definitions of "compressed" crossed. I'm almost certain the games are compressed in some way so that the PSN can send as little data as possible, but these would be lossless compression methods (almost everything sent via the net is compressed in some way or another, non-media files are almost always compressed losslessly). And at the same time, in-game assets like graphics, video and music are compressed because the raw files from which they're made are far far too large to fit on even blu ray disks (or if they could, load times would be beyond unbearable).

As for the question of quality, no, digitally downloaded games do not differ in quality whatsoever. The graphics, audio and video that you'll see on a downloaded title are identical to what you'd see on a disc. There is no quality related reason to prefer digital or physical media releases for PS3 games. I own several dozen digital PS3 games now and there's no noteworthy differences (besides the loading speeds, which are superior, and the storage requirements).

  • My definition was fine it was more of a failure to effectively communicate. I've updated my title.
    – Kevin Mark
    Commented Mar 30, 2013 at 4:48

No. There will be no artifacting or loss in quality due to it being a downloaded game as opposed to it being delivered on a disc.

Compression is used, yes. It is used on disc media as well, because the data used (textures and such) requires loads of space.

Extraction is usually done in an installer prior to running the game (it installs to HDD).

There is also no fair comparison to be made between PC and console versions of the same game. PC versions are running on much more powerful video hardware, commonly, and will have higher res textures and sometimes higher polycount objects (depending on level of optimizations by asset teams). Therefore it is not a 1:1 comparison between the versions of a game.

What you describe as "looks downright awful at times" i therefore attribute to hardware limitations. Basically, it depends on what you compare it to.

This is the way it has always been, if you think back. There where differences in quality and size of SNES and Mega Drive multiplatform games back in the day as well, due to how they where built and what hardware they ran on. No difference today, really.

Also, how would you know the demo includes the full game? I am not as sure...


Actually, yes. This is noticable with various games. Far Cry 3, Dragon's Dogma, Saints Row IV. All of these look less sharp and have a sort of grid on the graphics which is noticable at some points. My guess is that some people don't pick up on it due to their TV or are less sensitive in their sight.

  • Would really like to see a comparison done by someone with the equipment.
    – Kevin Mark
    Commented Apr 7, 2014 at 14:24

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