I’m sure you heard of an all-digital Xbox One S and wondered what exactly is this console? I’m here to answer all your questions and best describe exactly what an Xbox One S all-digital edition.
An Xbox One S Digitial is an Xbox One S console without a disc drive meaning it cannot read discs or play physical games. It is cheaper than a traditional console Xbox One S and must rely on services like Game Pass & EA Access and digital downloads to play games on the system.
There you have it! However, I’m sure you’re wondering why on Earth would Microsoft create a disc-less console and are services like Game Pass & EA Access good enough to replace physical games?
All these questions will be answered, and the debate between cloud and physical gaming is quite interesting and I’m excited to share it with you.
Check out a review of the Xbox One S digital down below.
Why Buy An Xbox One S Digitial?
You might ask yourself why would I buy the Xbox One S digital edition when I can’t play disc games? Well, the biggest answer is the price.
Manufacturing a disc-less Xbox is a lot cheaper for Microsoft and therefore they pass the savings onto the consumer to get more people to into the Xbox brand.
Right now, the Xbox One S digital edition will cost you around $170 with one controller, whereas the same console with a disc drive will cost you around $225 which is a $50 difference; enough to buy one new AAA game.
This $50 saving is enough to buy 3 months of game pass ultimate giving you access to 100s of different games and Xbox live under one subscription! Honestly, I bought my standard Xbox One S last Christmas and only own 2 physical games which I could have bought on the Microsoft store anyway.
Also, when you look at one of my physical games Resident Evil 2 it’s around £24 for the physical copy and on Microsoft online it’s on sale right now at only £14.84!
Aside from being a physical collector where isn’t much a point owning physical games over digital games as online retailers such as Microsoft often do large steam like sales saving you a lot of money over physical purchases.
I will further discuss the benefits of buying an Xbox One Digitial edition over the disc Xbox One S that I own. This will be a comparison of physical vs digital games but I go into a lot more detail about this debate right here.
The Xbox Game Pass Is Phenmononal
The Xbox Game Pass is a video game subscription service from Microsoft designed to work with Xbox One & Windows 10. It is the Netflix of video games as more than 100+ games can all be accessed from a base price of $9.99/month. I go into more detail into the service here
You might think surely the games must be of low quality? However, in reality, the service includes tons of AAA Microsoft exclusives such as Gears 5 &OuterWorlds and will include every one of Xbox Game studios ever-increasing collection of 15 first-party studios releases(read more here), such as when Halo Infinite is released in 2020.
I wholeheartedly believe it is the best deal in gaming the ever-expanding library blows me away, is worth purchasing an Xbox One just for this service.
For the price of a small indie game, you have access to a massive library of 100+ Xbox games which include games from the previous 2 generations the Xbox 360 & the original Xbox. You need a game pass subscription to play games and although the game pass caters to the whole family certain games will be locked to account holders younger than 18 years of age.
Is it just Netflix for games? Not exactly as unlike the popular content streaming service, Xbox Game pass requires you to download the game fully before playing the game.
Yes, you will need to wait to download big chunky titles with the space to download them. However, after they’re downloaded they will play without pesky buffering because everything will be local and you will have no lag, you will be able to play any game when it’s roughly halfway finished downloading.
The only issue with the Game Pass if even with a 1TB Xbox(the standard memory) you will have to routinely delete games to make space. This problem is solved via purchasing a specific Seagate external hard drive specifically made for the Xbox One which you can find here (Amazon Link)
Having the ability to buy your Xbox games without ever leaving your couch/sofa is a big plus for digital gaming. Never needing to travel to your local gaming shop and waiting in line with the masses saves you both time and money. Sounds great right?
When you download games they arrive instantly to your hard drive and even with physical copies you need to download some files before playing anyway. Red Dead Redemption 2 infamously needs 107 GB of extra storage on the Xbox one even with the disc!
All consoles include a feature called pre-loading whenever you preorder a game you have an option to pre-load the game so all the files are actually on your console so the game is ready to play as soon as it’s released!
If your itching to play a new release this is the fastest option available as even with Amazon prime you wouldn’t get the game at midnight release which is perfect for when you can’t wait to play!
Discs Are Bad For The Environment
Now we should all do our best to help Mother Earth and digital downloads drastically cut down the environmental footprint of the gaming industry.
You reduce costs of transportation and all the plastics and materials of the discs /cartridges & cases with plastic game packing used for physical gaming. Whereas digital games are simply 1 & 0s and are a far more Earth-friendly way to consume your digital gaming media.
Why Would Shouldn’t Get an Xbox One S Digitial
Cannot Buy/Sell Used Games
This is the biggest plus for physical gaming as you own your copies and have the potential to refund your games. Nintendo, for example, has a strict no return policy so if you decide you don’t like a game?
Tough luck you’re stuck with it and cannot refund, trade it or sell. But if you buy a physical copy then generally there is a 30-day refund policy so you can get your money back and/or buy another game you like. You can read Microsoft store return policy here but in general digital content cannot be refunded.
Whereas, I have made a LOT of money throughout the years selling my physical games on eBay which isn’t hard to do(check out this handy eBay selling guide).
You will be surprised what games sell for as they can hold a lot of value especially limited edition games or region only releases like the Silent hill collection that was only released in the UK.
Nintendo games, in particular, retain a LOT of value, Breath Of The Wild Is still $49 on Amazon whereas Resident Evil 7 gold edition(edition with all the DLCs) released later that year is $23!
I’ve even sold decade-old Nintendo DS games for $28 if your interested in what makes Nintendo games hold their value check out my post here of the topic.
Used Games Can Be Cheaper
Discounts on physical games are very common even triple AAA games (Not Nintendo!)will dramatically drop in price several months after they are released. I purchased Resident Evil 7 gold edition for only £18/$24 which includes all the DLC less than 2 years after it was released! This was a bargain and is quite common for physical releases.
Pre-owned games from sites like eBay will be even cheaper and yes eShops like the Microsoft store e will have discounts but they are at the mercy of Microsoft and they usually are not as good as physical discounts.
Shops and sellers need to get rid of excess stock whereas Microsoft has infinite copies of digital games to sell so it’s in their best interest selling them as high as possible so naturally the discounts won’t be as good.
You Can Borrow/Swap Your Physical Games!
The biggest issue I have with the increasing trend of digital games is it is taking away the control of our games. With physical games, if you want to try out a new game and your friend has a copy?
No problem, simply lend each other the copies and play to your heart’s content, in a free society this is how it should be. Whilst you can gift players a game on Microsofts store, having a digital Xbox One S makes sharing discs impossible.
Also game rental services still actually exist! Services like GameFly and the UK company boomerang have a free trial period and offer a subscription service for you to try out all the new games released. Of course, this is not possible with a digital Xbox one S
You Get All The advantages of the Digital Edition With A Normal Xbox One S
By far the biggest reason not to buy an Xbox One S is like me if you have the Disc version you can enjoy all the benefits of digital gaming, whilst still having all the positives of physical gaming.
I only have 2 physical Xbox games, and mainly use Game Pass to play all my games but I still have the OPTION to buy both used and digital games and share and swap games to my hearts desire.
If you only have a digital Xbox, of course, you lack the freedom to choose between digital and physical gaming. The question is if you live in the US is that $50 saving worth it for you?
In countries outside the US, the saving you get having the Xbox One S digital is even less so it gives you less of a reason to purchase a digital Xbox One S. However, either one you buy you will get a fantastic affordable but powerful console and I’m so glad I purchased one recently and I prefer it to my PS4.