I just bought PS4 and Final Fantasy XV. I haven’t gamed since PS2.

I pop the disc in and it’s demanding that I download damn near 30GB of data before I can even start the game!

What’s the point of the disc? 30GB sounds like as much data as the blu-ray can hold itself?

Are all PS4 games like this? Can you get by without high-speed internet?

  • 13
    I once bought a game specifically so I didn't have to download it - it turned out I did. There was nothing on the box to say I had to download it. For me, it feels good to have a physical collection of games so I can look at it and see what I want to play. Nov 1, 2017 at 5:53
  • 13
    I first encountered this with Portal 2, where the disk contained no game at all - just a copy of steam and a code.
    – pjc50
    Nov 1, 2017 at 10:21
  • 6
    For me it is lately because I can buy AAA games cheaper on a disk and deliverd at my home than it costs to buy it through Steam or other services...
    – Arperum
    Nov 1, 2017 at 11:22
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    I'm surprised not many people have mentioned cost as a factor. In this instance you list FFXV, which is currently $49.99 for the digitial copy, but can be bought at (pricey) Gamestop for $24.99 new, and $19.99 used. This is especially true for slightly older games, and I've even seen similar things for brand new games, in which they've opted out of base edition for "deluxe edition" or other editions of the game.
    – Anoplexian
    Nov 1, 2017 at 14:17
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    @Frank Yes it does, it reflects on how technology had defined defined gaming, and where modern technology has taken us.
    – Iam Pyre
    Nov 2, 2017 at 1:53

8 Answers 8


Once the game has installed you can start the game and play version 1.00 that is on the disk while the 30gb of additional data is downloading.

It is not mandatory to have an internet connection to play this game, or most single player games, with some exceptions such as the Destiny series.

Also worth noting is that Final Fantasy 15 has been out for about 1 year, the 30gb of data you are downloading represents improvements and additional content that has been provided post launch to improve and expand the game. In the days of PS2 this kind of post launch support was impossible, once the game shipped that was it, warts and all.

In short, nothing is stopping you from playing now, directly from the disk, and you have a vastly improved and expanded experience available if you choose to download the free, 30gb worth of patches.

I personally think this is an improvement to the way things were in the PS2 era although it does lead to games occasionally being shipped in a sub-standard state and relying on day one patches to fix any issues. The most notable example of this was Assassin's Creed: Unity which was border line unplayable at launch and required several large patches in the following weeks.

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  • That you used "warts" to describe game bugs has made my day! Nov 1, 2017 at 13:22
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    This. It definitely sucks to pop a new game in and immediately have to download a patch but what you're downloading is all of the fixes and improvements that they made since the game was originally "printed". If it's small improvements, we should be thanking the developer. If it's disaster recovery (like AC:Unity) we should be figuratively crucifying the developer. It's all about why they're releasing the patch. To add to the game to make it better? Or to fix all of the lazy mistakes they left in just so they could make their deadline/preorder commitment?
    – Kalmino
    Nov 1, 2017 at 15:42
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    Let's also not forget about Metal Gear Solid V box copy only containing a the 8 MB Steam installer
    – durron597
    Nov 2, 2017 at 14:59

Some points in favour of discs:

  • You only need to download the patches, not the actual game (it will still take up just as much space on the drive, though, the PS4 copies the content from the disc to the hard drive for speed reasons); you can also play the game while the patch downloads, allowing you to start playing earlier
  • Discs maintain some resale value at shops that sell pre-owned games; you cannot re-sell a digital game

However, you do then have to store the physical disc...

  • 4
    But yes, day one patches are a hell of a thing. I think the SMALLEST one I've seen was a few hundred megabytes.
    – Margaret
    Nov 1, 2017 at 5:47
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    plenty of games ship with no day one patch available, while they are common they are definitely not ubiquitous. Also, I have suggest to the sony twitter account and sony support that patches should be able to be pre-loaded. For example if I know I am going to purchase a game there should be a function on the PS4 to download the current patch prior to inserting the disk.
    – Colin
    Nov 1, 2017 at 6:05
  • @Colin Yeah, my boyfriend has repeatedly expressed desire for a "I promise I have bought the disc, please start downloading the patches so I can play when I get home" button
    – Margaret
    Nov 1, 2017 at 21:25
  • Your point about it copying the game to disc for speed reasons, makes me wonder why boxed games don't come on USB sticks instead of discs. Vastly more storage which could be used for save game files etc. easier to store. Yes there will be an added cost but that could be passed on to the consumer who can choose to pay for this convenience or stick with the traditional way
    – Darren H
    Nov 2, 2017 at 7:42

You are mistaking an Update download there. While a lot of games come with day-1 patches these aren't actually required to play a game as other answer have pointed out. However, updates are cumulative as such if you have a game which regular gets patches for multiplayer and a progress blocking bug gets patched you will be getting all the multiplayer patches whether you want them or not.

This is an improvement to the generation involving the PS2 and PSP as:

  • In Ar Tonelico 2: Meledy of Metafalica, the NTSC Version had a bug in it where when fighting Raki in Sol Marta. when she goes to use Fractal Change the game crashes and she will always use this skill within the first 2-4 turns of the battle. US Players have to deal 60,000+ before her 2-4 attack (though it's generally her third) to get passed her while Japanese and EU Players don't have this bug. the same bug also exist in optional battles with her

  • In Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana the game will hang on a black screen after the credits which prevents saving data for the bonus dungeon that's unlocked for beating the game. there are reports this can be passed by not having voices enabled

  • In Tales of Eternia for PSP there is the Volt Glitch where pressing 3 switches behind Volt will cause the game to freeze. This existed in the EU Version of the game which were shipped weren't shipped with the 2.5 Firmware Update (as PSP Games came with Firmware Updates)

Had digital distribution existed, these problems may have been addressed and fixed without the work-arounds.

But there is an advantage to Physical Games in PS3/PS4/Vita. As these consoles are not Region Locked you can buy a game overseas and play it fine such regardless of if it was released or not. Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is a good example of this for PS Vita which due to the content of one of the DLC you can't get in Australia physically or digitally but there's nothing stopping you from importing it. Japanese Games that you get tired of waiting for localization if you can read Japanese (at least be able to understand the controls for).

However, these games are still DLC Region Matched which means if you buy a US game you need a US PSN Account to buy its DLC. Japanese or PAL DLC1 for the same game will not work

The other advantage is that Physical Games will always be yours. While I have not heard of a situation for PlayStation games, a number of EA Games on the Apple App Store (including Dead Space) were removed with no refunds given as such if you had any of these game and deleted it you can't get it back again. Not to mention the previous news about Steam removing games (though they were rightfully removed and anyone torn up for loosing them is an idiot).

As I said, while I have heard of nothing like that happening with PlayStation, the fact remains that PlayStation can remove games from their store whenever they want to. After all, they control your access to downloading it, and it is naive to think that when they put a game up on their store they loose control of it and can not take it down if they so choose to.

There is also the expected advantage that you can share your games with whoever you want. You'll see on Arqade now and again people asking how to be able to play a game a friend and/or family member downloaded on another console (i.e. "My friend downloaded a game on his console and I logged into it and played. How can I play his game on my own console?"). PlayStation does try to stop Game Sharing unless you jump through hoops such as the owner of the game making that console their primary one and you having a user on said console and having permissions set by the owner to access the game since after all, they and the devs/publishers want you to buy it again.

The final advantage which you might have assumed by now is that you don't2 shouldn't need the Internet to play a game and since HDD Space isn't infinite, if you decide to uninstall a game and later want to play it again, a Physical Game you can stick in a play right away, a Digital Game you have to wait for.

  • Your connection to your router to be OK
  • Your ISP to be OK
  • PlayStation Network being OK

And if any one of these goes down, you're out of luck, especially when a Telephone Exchange burns down knocking out your area's internet service.

1: I say PAL DLC as I have brought games from the UK and DLC from the Aus PSN Store does work despite the UK and Aus Stores being different (look at Black Rock Shooter, Battle Princess of Arcadias and Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni which for one reason or another are not available in Australia but are available in the UK)

2: Well, you would assume that a game with single player should be offline but unless it's changed since I asked you have to be online once to play Starcraft 2


Disk copies are cheaper.

A digital version of $new_game is £49.99 where as the same hard copy disk from $store is £39.99 in the first month and close to £19.99 within six. Of course, the digital copy does reduce in price in sales and special offers.

  • 2
    This is the primary reason why I purchase disk; you will almost always purchase digital at new price Nov 1, 2017 at 12:37
  • 1
    I have never understood this... arbitrary anticompetitive taxes on digital goods are a wonderful thing. Gotta keep those physical distributors in business, man!
    – Ian Kemp
    Nov 2, 2017 at 11:53

While services like PSN, Steam or Xbox Live are currently quite reliable and look like they will still be around for quite some time, there is no guarantee that they will be available for all eternity. Companies pay a lot of money for maintaining these services. Should they ever decide that it is no longer in their business interests to do so, they can just pull the plug. The terms of service usually have clauses which say they can do that without even owing you a refund.

You will then lose any uninstalled games without a physical copy.

You might even lose some games with a physical copy and with a current install, because more and more games require always-on DRM and refuse to start when the servers are offline. But if you have a copy available there is at least a chance to reinstall them.

Personally I am willing to take that risk for the convenience, because I am not a person who plays the same old game over and over again. For people with different usage patterns this risk-benefit calculation might turn out differently. But I honestly can't remember the last time I installed a game from a physical medium.


I don't usually buy hard copies but when I do its for 3 main reasons:

1) Its the only way to get used copies of games for super cheap in stores like Gamestop. On the other side of the same coin, its the only way to get something back when you no longer need the game anymore. Although the trade in value is low.. its better than having a digital copy that you will never touch again.

2) Sales on new games. Sometimes retail stores will just happen to be running a sale that the digital markets (PSN, Xbox Store, Steam) are not.

3) Game Sharing. I can play a game, uninstall it, and lend it to a friend. With digital, I would have to give my friend my Xbox live account info and they would have to login on their machine to be able to play my games. This is really not a viable soultion


Physical game copies are covered by the first-sale doctrine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine). This provides many rights not available with digital download copies. The ability to give the game away or resell it are of particular interest.


The point of buying a hard copy of a game is that you can sell the hard copy on the used game market when you are finished playing the game

  • The answer by Margaret already says that and the accepted answer shows that there are more reasons. Nov 1, 2017 at 14:45
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    Btw, I looked at your profile and you have very mixed quality in your answers. Can you please try to avoid one-sentence answers and answers without much context or explanation? Some of your answers are good though. Nov 1, 2017 at 14:49

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