Can You Play PS5 Games Without a Disc? (Explained!)

I might be severely dating myself here, but remember back in the day when you had to have a disc in order to play a video game? (or, for that matter, a clunky old cartridge?!) 

Yeah, technology has definitely come a long way since my early gaming days. 

Having to pop memory card after memory card in to save games? Man, that was a lot of work. 

Kids these days don’t even know the struggle us old farts had back in the day.

Digital games are very much a thing and have been for quite a few years. 

While there are still certainly physical disc copies available for old-school gamers like me, you can easily download the games you want from the PlayStation store or from third-party sellers like Humble Bundle.

No matter which platform you are gaming on, you can choose between using an actual disc or downloading the digital version.

Is there an advantage to digital games? 

Should you perhaps invest in the digital-only counterpart to the PS5 known as the PS5 Digital Edition? Are the digital games the same as the physical copies? These are questions that buyers who are new to the PS5 will want answered. 

Let’s talk about how you can play digital games on the PS5 and what the advantages and disadvantages are to digital games for the PlayStation 5.

Can You Play PS5 Games Without a Disc? (Explained!)

You can play PS5 games that come either as physical discs or that you digitally download. Downloads can be bought on the PlayStation Store or through a third-party seller. Digital copies create much less physical clutter and are just as easy to load and play as their physical disc counterparts.

What is the difference between the PS5 and PS5 Digital Edition? 

 Should you get the latter if you plan on only playing digitally downloaded games? 

Are there any advantages to owning physical copies of games? 

How does game installation work on the PS5? Can you share digitally downloaded games on the PS5? Read on to learn more about playing digital versions of PS5 games.

PS5 vs PS5 Digital Edition: What’s the difference?

Wondering “Do you need a disc for PS5?” The answer is: No, but that also depends on which version of the console you buy – the PS5 or PS5 Digital Edition.

So, what’s the big difference between the PS5 and the PS5 Digital Edition. 

Well, there is one big thing: The Digital Edition only plays digitally downloaded games. 

The standard PS5 can play either one. Since it doesn’t include the disc drive, the Digital Edition is priced $100 below the standard PS5’s $499.99. 

Power and performance, though, see no differences.

Aesthetically speaking, the Digital Edition is smaller and more slender in its design.

Obviously, you cannot put any disc into it, so you cannot play DVDs or Blu-Ray films. 

It clearly does not give you as much flexibility as the regular PS5, but some people who have gone strictly digital will appreciate how much this can lessen the clutter in their home.

Is it better to get the PS5 Digital Edition?

Honestly, unless you plan on exclusively playing digitally downloaded games, you should probably stick with the regular PS5. 

It gives you more leeway to play physical copies of games, digital downloads, DVDs, and Blu-ray.

It is a bit bigger and heavier, but not by much.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Physical Game Copies

Physical game copies are great since you can sell them if you don’t want to play them anymore.

Or you can pass them along to a friend quite easily.

They tend to cost about the same as digital downloads, but some third-party sellers make their digital games more affordable by putting them on sale.

Now, digital games can be shared with friends across the globe. 

You will have to share your account info with them though, so they had better be people whom you trust with your private details. 

PlayStation Share Play makes it easy enough for you to share games with your pals.

Can You Play PS5 Games Without a Disc Explained 1 Can You Play PS5 Games Without a Disc? (Explained!)

How do you install games on the PS5?

Installing games on the PS5 is simple, whether you’re using a disc or digital download.

If you’re wondering how the PS5 is different than previous iterations of the PlayStation, you can actually choose which parts of the game you want to download or install the full game then uninstall the single-player campaign after beating it. 

This would free up storage space and leave the multiplayer version ready to play.

Physical games need to be installed the old-fashioned way, using the disc. 

You will need to keep using the disc when you play so that PlayStation can verify that game’s license.

On the Digital Edition, everything has to be installed via internal SSD. 

This SSD is super speedy when it comes to loading and transitions. 

The Digital Edition has a 825GB Custom NVMe SSD and, for expandable storage, q NVMe SSD slot. 

You will want to get an additional card fairly soon since they do fill up quickly.

Adding it, though, is a chore in and of itself since you have to open up the console to do it.

Can you share digitally downloaded games on the PS5?

Can you play PS4 games without the disc on PS5? If the data is installed on the console’s hard drive, then you can still play a PS4 game on the PS5 without a disc. 

PS5 is backward compatible with the PS4.

You can also partake in game-sharing on the PS5 with relative ease.

Doing so involves the following steps:

  1. From your PS5, log in to your PlayStation Network account.
  2. Go to the main menu, then click the Gear icon found between the magnifying glass and your avatar. This will get you to the Settings tab.
  3. Choose Users and Accounts.
  4. Scroll down, then select Other.
  5. Choose Console Sharing and Offline Play. If it indicates next to this option that this feature is enabled on your PS5, you will not be able to game-share. You’ll need to disable this.
  6. Log out of your PSN account.
  7. On the console you wish to game-share with, log in using your PSN.
  8. Go to the same menu and choose Don’t Disable from the Console Sharing and Offline Play menu.
  9. Log out of your PSN on this particular console.

Where can I find digital downloads for the best price?

Third-party sellers often have the best prices on digital downloads. 

Personally, I like going to Humble Bundle and looking for deals on PlayStation (and PC) games. 

You can find a large variety of digital downloads there, and they often bundle similar games together and mark the prices down so that more players will be tempted to download these games. 

From indie games to big-name releases, you can find just about any game you’re looking for as a digital download.

Closing Thoughts

You can choose to go strictly digital or mix things up on the PS5.

It is all up to you and how you prefer to game. 

If you’re all about having less clutter in your home and want to go strictly digital, the PS5 Digital Edition probably going to appeal to you. 

However, most people will still want to stick with the PS5 since you can play with a disc or via digital downloads.