Digital Game Pricing


So it is Christmas shopping season again and despite another year having passed, digital gaming has not become any more reasonable in terms of price.


In my house we have elected to go all digital as we have several XB1s and not shuttling discs back and forth is our best bet but that means we are always left out of holiday sale prices. Ex. Today Battlefield 1 for XB1 is $35 on Amazon for the disc and $59.99 for a digital copy. Not long ago target had a buy 2 get 1 free sale but once again was all disc based.


I know why they are scared of undercutting the physical copy price even though digital distribution should lower their costs (it is about keeping retailers happy) but I really wish the digital store would price match or even offer a trade in program (send us your unopened physical copy and we give you a digital code) but frankly I just don’t see it happening until physical copies die altogether, which couldn’t happen until the next generation at the earliest and honestly may never happen.

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  1. 1 | Reply
    RamblingGeek Alpha Member #1038 - 2 months ago

    Yeah, I agree with all you have said here.  I find it really frustrating, I don't want to store physical media nor do I need to, but I shouldn't have to pay more... 

    I've assumed it's something to do with bulk discount, so the retailers can purchase 5000 units of whatever AAA title and they will get them for X amount per unit...

    This of course, doesn't work with digital copies.  It should be cheaper and really they have no reason not too, if there selling the above at £10-15 per physical disc then why can't they discount the digital copies?

  2. 1 | Reply
    bsd107 - 2 months ago

    I went all-digital with both XB1 and PS4 games when each console launched, and have never looked back.  No discs piling up on the shelves, everything on readily accessible on the hard drive, etc.

    I think the physical sales have more to do with excess stock, supply and demand, etc.  I agree that it has been really frustrating over the years to always have digital copies selling at full price on Amazon, while physical are usually discounted.  However, keep an eye out for sales - they do happen in the digital stores, too, on occasion, although nothing like the frequency of physical.

    Another challenge with digital games when you have more than one console in the house is that you can only have one PRIMARY console.  Your digital games are purchased by one actual person, not the family.  And only the primary console allows anyone to play your games on it.

    I ran into this problem in the last week when I got a PS4 Pro, and moved my original PS4 to another TV in the house.  The PS4 Pro is now my primary console, and anyone in the house can play any of my digital games on the PS4 Pro.  On the other PS4, which is now NOT my primary console, my digital games still exist on that console.  However only the purchaser of the digital game - i.e. me - can play the games on that secondary PS4.  So, my kids cannot sit down at the old PS4 and play a game unless they actually log in as me (the purchaser of the game).  Of course, this also means that if I am logged into the PS4 Pro and playing a game, nobody else can play a game on the other PS4 as those games were all purchased by me, and I cannot be logged into both consoles at once.

    Note that I am not talking about being able to play the same game on two different consoles at the same time.  You can't even play two different games on the two consoles at the same time if they were purchased by the same person.

    Based on what I have read, similar restrictions also apply to the XB1 platform.  Only one console is Home console, and on a another console you have to be the owner of a game to play it.

    None of this is a surprise to - I am not claiming that I got ripped off.  I read about all of these restrictions when I first got the PS4 and XB1 at launch.  But, now that I have more than one console in the house, I am feeling the restrictions.

    Overall, you can't really have more than one console in the household if you go all-digital.  You actually are much better off with discs if you have two or more consoles of the same platform in the house - it's the only way to allow anyone to play any game on any console whenever they want.

    And, as you said, the games can be significantly cheaper....

    1. 0 | Reply
      RamblingGeek Alpha Member #1038 - 2 months ago
      In reply to bsd107:

      I never knew of that restriction, which is silly!  Let's hope in time it will be more relaxed. 

    2. 0 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 2 months ago
      In reply to bsd107:

      I can provide insight to the XB1 side of that scenario as we deal with this everyday in our house as we have 4 XB1s. The primary is in our media room were the kids mostly play. Anyone can play those digital copies on that console at anytime. On all other console in order to play a digital game my account must be signed in. The controller doesn't have to be assigned to me meaning my kids can sign in and play the games as long as I am also signed in (you know how you can have more people signed in that you have controllers attached now).


      The limitations of this are that I can only be signed in on one console at a time meaning no more that two console can be playing a digital game concurrently and only one if I am signed in on the 'home console'.


      The single upside is that I can play the same game on two consoles at the same time (assuming I am not signed into the home console). Both consoles can go online and I have used this for online co-op successfully.


      To your point about digital sales, there is never the amount of markdown you see on physical copies around black Friday, so while that sucks and I wish for price parity, I made my choice knowing the ramifications at the time and I'll have to deal with it.

  3. 0 | Reply
    jasonoki Alpha Member #1574 - 2 months ago

    Movies are in a similar situation with the Blu rays and Dvds being cheaper than Digital streams, but they usually offer a onetime digital code within the physical copy. 

    1. 0 | Reply
      jr.flynn Alpha Member #424 - 2 months ago
      In reply to jasonoki:

      For the exact reason you list I don't have an issue with this on the movie side. I can buy a physical copy on sale, get the digital copy for myself then give someone else the disc. I wish Microsoft stores would do an unopened physical copy for digital copy trade in as I can't see any other retailer being able to profit from that.