Why do digital games cost more than physical copies?

Learn a bit about economics and find out about the issues with digital purchases.

by Jason Coles
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It’s a question that has plagued us all since the inception of digital storefronts. Well, not those of us on PC, because things are incredibly cheap there, but for those on consoles, digital games are simply too expensive.

There’s definitely an argument to be made that actually, all games are too cheap given escalating development costs, staff sizes, and time spent in development, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

Instead, we’re going to look at why physical games are so much cheaper than digital most of the time.

So, here’s why digital games cost more than physical ones.

Why do digital games cost more than physical ones?

In a word, it’s down to competition. You see, in the real world, lots of places sell games. That means that companies have to try to attract your interest, which is often done by lowering prices.

They need some profit more than they need all of the profit, so it means more sales, offers, and general price cuts.

Digital is different though, outside of the world of PC gaming, the digital storefronts are your only option to buy games digitally. That means that you can’t shop around, so you’re stuck with whatever price they want to charge.


READ MORE: All about the PS5

Should digital games be cheaper than physical ones?

Yes, 100%. Physical media not only has to be created, which costs money, but also shipped, which costs money, stored in a physical place, which costs money, and then someone has to sell it to you, which also costs money.

All of those factors, plus a few others, mean that selling a game physically is more expensive than doing so digitally.


That means that games should be cheaper digitally, and we can only hope that becomes the case as we head towards a PS5 Digital Edition with no disc drive.

Otherwise, the money you save on getting the digital edition will be very quickly lost on buying the games themselves.

READ MORE: All about the Xbox Series X

Jason Coles

Why Do Digital Games Cost More Than Physical Copies

Find out just a little bit about economics.

by Jason Coles

It’s a question that has plagued us all since the inception of digital storefronts. Well, not those of us on PC, because things are incredibly cheap there, but for those on consoles, digital games are simply too expensive.

There’s definitely an argument to be made that actually, all games are too cheap given escalating development costs, staff sizes, and time spent in development, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about.

Instead, we’re going to look at why physical games are so much cheaper than digital most of the time.

So, here’s why digital games cost more than physical ones.

Why do digital games cost more than physical ones?

In a word, it’s down to competition. You see, in the real world, lots of places sell games. That means that companies have to try to attract your interest, which is often done by lowering prices.

They need some profit more than they need all of the profit, so it means more sales, offers, and general price cuts.

Digital is different though, outside of the world of PC gaming, the digital storefronts are your only option to buy games digitally. That means that you can’t shop around, so you’re stuck with whatever price they want to charge.


READ MORE: All about the PS5

Should digital games be cheaper than physical ones?

Yes, 100%. Physical media not only has to be created, which costs money, but also shipped, which costs money, stored in a physical place, which costs money, and then someone has to sell it to you, which also costs money.

All of those factors, plus a few others, mean that selling a game physically is more expensive than doing so digitally.


That means that games should be cheaper digitally, and we can only hope that becomes the case as we head towards a PS5 with no disc drive.

Otherwise, the money you save on getting the digital edition will be very quickly lost on buying the games themselves.

READ MORE: All about the Xbox Series X

Jason Coles