As if a new PS5 weren't exciting enough, Sony's given gamers a choice: grab a full-featured PS5 for $500, or get the same next-gen graphics without the disc drive for $400. That cheaper PS5 may be compelling (the more symmetrical design alone is beckoning), but I think the disc version is still worth getting. Hear me out.
You'll Make Up the Cost with Cheaper Games
I love games, but I love a good deal even more. I'm not looking to pay extra money just to say I have the best system—in fact, I think the $500 PS5 may actually save you money in the long run.
Discs aren't always cheaper than digital downloads, but they often are—especially once a game has been out for a while. At the time of this writing, The Last of Us Remastered is $5 cheaper on disc than it is to download. NieR: Automata is $10 cheaper on disc than on the PlayStation Store. And for some ungodly reason, Middle-Earth: Shadow of War Definitive Edition is $50 cheaper on disc than it is to buy digitally. If you're willing to buy discs used, you can save even more—and easily make up that $100 over the life of the console (and then some).
Oh, and that's not even taking into account the fact that you can sell those games when you're done. I'm not saying I buy every game on disc—if I plan on revisiting a game often (like Spider-Man) or playing it regularly over time (like Tetris Effect), I'll absolutely pay a bit more for a digital copy that I don't have to swap into the drive all the time. But games I plan on playing once and never touching again, like Shadow of War, are best bought on disc and sold on Craigslist to recoup some of the cost. The $400 PS5 Digital Edition is a way for Sony to suck more long-term money out of us gamers, and I refuse to be tricked!
Disc Drives Are Versatile
Look, I get it: Getting off the couch and swapping discs is annoying. (I'm not being facetious, I actually hate it.) But disc drives do have other advantages: When you buy a disc, you can install the game much faster than if you were to download it, especially if you have a slow internet connection. Sure, you'll have to download the occasional patch, but they're usually a fraction of the size of the actual game.
If you have any PS4 games on disc, the more expensive PS5 allows you to replay those titles whenever you want—if you buy the digital edition, you'll have to re-buy any old games you want to keep around, or stash your old PS4 in the closet to play them later. (By the way, selling your old PS4 will easily make up that $100 extra cost on the disc-enabled PS5.) And if for some reason a game ever gets pulled from the PlayStation Store, it'll be nice to have the ability to fall back on a disc—even if you have to buy it used—to see what the fuss is about.
Ultra HD Blu-ray Is Incredible
Finally, remember that the disc drive doesn't just play PS4 and PS5 games—it also plays Ultra HD Blu-rays. I know most of the world has moved onto streaming for movies and TV, but trust me: If you want the best video and audio quality movies have to offer, 4K Blu-rays are where the action is. Even if you don't plan on re-buying every movie in 4K, you should grab a few of your favorites on disc, because they will truly wow you. Into the Spider-Verse is a perfect example of a disc that blows streaming out of the water, and the remastered version of The Matrix is a sight to behold.
If high-quality movies are even a little enticing to you, get the full fat PS5. Most Ultra HD Blu-ray players cost over $100 anyway, so it's actually a great price for that functionality. Coupled with the above savings, you're easily saving money in the long run. The only real cost is the lack of symmetry in your entertainment unit.