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I have bought a bunch of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games on retail disks. Big mistakes. They take up space and it a hassle to locate and swap the disks.

Can they be somehow “upgraded” to download-copies so I don’t need the disks anymore on either consoles?

Or do I need to pay full price for the games again?

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As retail games are not purchased through the Xbox Live Marketplace, there is no way for Microsoft to know for sure that you are the original owner of the physical copy as physical copies can be sold secondhand. This, however, was possible via Microsoft's original DRM policies when they showcased the One on E3 in 2013. Due to huge outcry from the players for the excessive restrictions of the policies, MS decided to reverse the decision so that discs can now be sold secondhand, which means the 'upgrade' is no longer possible. The 'upgrade', as it was designed pre-2013 E3, consisted of buying a disc and registering it with your Xbox Live account so that it would appear in your list of purchased games.

Sony never offered this option with its PS4 to start with as far as I know. So not much to say here.

  • This is the number one thing that was sad about the outcry against their DRM policy. There were a lot of use cases where it was better for us gamers. – Eben Sep 8 '14 at 7:46
  • This, and there's nothing stopping you from renting a game at your local {Blockbuster, Civic Video, whatever Americans have} and registering it to your account. – Guy Shapter Dec 22 '14 at 15:46
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    @GuyShapter There would not have been rentals if that policy were enacted. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Sep 14 '15 at 22:36
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft - Indeed. – Guy Shapter Sep 16 '15 at 7:36
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As @deutschZuid said, there is no such thing as an upgrade from physical to digital copy, which means you'll have to pay full price again, unless you somehow got a lucky deal on a digital copy.

However, if you ever do choose to purchase the digital copy, your savegames will keep working. That is assuming both physical and digital copies were from the same region. If you bought an imported physical copy, then at a later time a regional digital copy, the saves might work, but they also might not. There is no guarantee they will. The same is true for any DLC you might've purchased; they will work on both the physical and the digital copy, assuming both were from the same region.*


*: The statement about savegames and DLCs is true for PS4 (and PS Vita). I haven't verified it on Xbox One yet, but I suppose it should be true there as well, at the very least for DLCs.

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