Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Game Disc VS. Download, Which is best?

  1. #1


    Louisiana, USA
    Posts : 172
    Windows 8.1 x64 OEM

    Game Disc VS. Download, Which is best?


    Alright so I'm a new gamer to the PC gaming world, I've owned consoles for a very long time.. I know when installing a game on console, you still use the disc but loading times get faster.. I was wondering if it were similar with PC gaming...? Do you install the full game and ditch the disc? And what are the pro's and con's for performance with downloaded games vs. using the game disc? I will definitely be starting my PC game selection, but I want to get some details about the pro's and con's of which route I want to take.

    I've heard some say use Steam and get the downloaded version as you will never lose the game like you would with a game disc, but I'm not irresponsible at all. I've had game discs for consoles for years, and that's 7 or 8 years plus. And every game disc I own is literally flawless, so there's no worries about losing the discs. I don't really count that as a con..

    Some also say price makes a difference. The game I want first for my PC is Skyrim and it's the same price as a disc or a download. Plus, I've always liked game discs more, but if there's a big performance difference between download and disc, then performance will take the lead on my purchasing decisions. I've got a 1TB HDD and plan to get a 2TB for gaming and a 120GB SSD for my OS, so space won't be an issue down the road..

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  2. #2


    The one big advantage to the download version is that often if you log into your account, you can download it and install it and play it on whatever computer you are on. That does provide a nice convenience level.
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  3. #3


    Well, for one, hard disk is much faster than CD/DVD so game loading should be faster from HDD. Unless game disk is required to run a game full install should be preferred.
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  4. #4


    USA
    Posts : 689
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by Jarminx View Post
    Alright so I'm a new gamer to the PC gaming world, I've owned consoles for a very long time.. I know when installing a game on console, you still use the disc but loading times get faster.. I was wondering if it were similar with PC gaming...? Do you install the full game and ditch the disc? And what are the pro's and con's for performance with downloaded games vs. using the game disc? I will definitely be starting my PC game selection, but I want to get some details about the pro's and con's of which route I want to take.

    I've heard some say use Steam and get the downloaded version as you will never lose the game like you would with a game disc, but I'm not irresponsible at all. I've had game discs for consoles for years, and that's 7 or 8 years plus. And every game disc I own is literally flawless, so there's no worries about losing the discs. I don't really count that as a con..

    Some also say price makes a difference. The game I want first for my PC is Skyrim and it's the same price as a disc or a download. Plus, I've always liked game discs more, but if there's a big performance difference between download and disc, then performance will take the lead on my purchasing decisions. I've got a 1TB HDD and plan to get a 2TB for gaming and a 120GB SSD for my OS, so space won't be an issue down the road..
    As a gamer, though I always go for the physical disk, most games are going the way of the digital download anyway. In other words though I have the physical disk of Bioshock, the game is actually installed through Steam, or Mass Effect is installed through Origin... making the requirement of using the physical disk moot.

    BTW Skyrim requires Steam so while having the physical disk is nice, once the game is installed, you'll probably never look at the disk again unless you just like looking at the art.

    As for performance... there really isn't any difference between reading from the disk, or reading from the drive.

    As to which route to take... the game will actually make that choice for you... does the game require Steam or Origin? If not, the disk will probably be required to be used.
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  5. #5


    Posts : 85
    Windows 10 64-bit/ Windows 8.1 64-bit



    As a gamer, though I always go for the physical disk, most games are going the way of the digital download anyway. In other words though I have the physical disk of Bioshock, the game is actually installed through Steam, or Mass Effect is installed through Origin... making the requirement of using the physical disk moot.

    BTW Skyrim requires Steam so while having the physical disk is nice, once the game is installed, you'll probably never look at the disk again unless you just like looking at the art.

    As for performance... there really isn't any difference between reading from the disk, or reading from the drive.

    As to which route to take... the game will actually make that choice for you... does the game require Steam or Origin? If not, the disk will probably be required to be used.
    That's a bit misleading, it does save time and data with the first download for starters. Left 4 Dead 2 had enough to patch and update without downloading the base game as one example.

    To clarify as someone who uses Steam and Origin, the game is very much on the discs you buy in store. Clients handle the installation when installing from physical hardware but they don't download the core game. They do apply updates and depending on the game, those updates can be quite extensive. It can save you bandwidth to buy a physical copy but you are given the same perks on games requiring Steam or Origin. You get to play without the disc and if something ever happens you can re-download the game whether you bought a digital copy or physical copy as your game is registered to your account. PC gaming hasn't used the game disc to run off for a while, it runs off the harddrive and loading times are dictated by write speed, processor speeds and a whole series of factors. That SSD would probably be your pick for faster loading times.

    Whether you get Skyrim as a basic copy or the legendary edition with all DLC (My recommended route and why when I picked up a 360 copy to go with my pc one, I went Legendary), your best bet is to grab a new copy off an Ebay seller in your country. Ebay is my one-stop shop for a lot of games and you will get it cheaper than you would on Steam. Yes, you can hang out for a sale but you can also get a copy for a modest price and cheaper than Steam. Most decent games aren't dirt cheap on Steam unless they are on sale. Always buy Origin games in store or on Ebay- they're often pricier than in a mainstream bricks-and-mortar store.

    Not to advocate piracy (always buy the game!), but were Steam to come down and render its gaming catalogue useless, people actually have solutions to run the physical disc copy without it. I'm quite fond of Steam and paradoxically, Origin but I do prefer some of my old games which are installed and run without being dependent on a client which is only as useful as the company's longevity. My original PC copy of Mass Effect when patched, runs without a disc anyway. But I do love the clients upsides, like easy backup ability and what Origin lacks there it makes up for in easy game transference, copy and paste, just need to reinstall the download client. You'll notice the more games you get for PC, it pays to back them up on an external HDD. Even with unlimited internet data, enough games and you're waiting hours and hours to restore your collection. As opposed to quick, easy and fully patched.
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  6. #6


    USA
    Posts : 689
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Without getting all technical and detail oriented... I'll agree. However, you'll still be downloading some files from the game manager's (Steam, Origin) servers... and this won't be a small download.

    And yeah, I've got both Steam and Origin. Had Steam since 2004 with Half-Life 2.

    Peace
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  7. #7


    Louisiana, USA
    Posts : 172
    Windows 8.1 x64 OEM


    The only thing I see right now with those options, is if I get the game disc, I can install the game and then just wait for the patch files.. My internet isn't the best, 2-5mpbs on a good day so the less I can download the better. However, that being said if there's a performance boost of course I don't mind waiting, but from what I understand games these days are installed completely onto the HDD/SSD which means it's the same performance as if it were downloaded. I suppose now I need to decide whether I get the disc and hope the patch files aren't too huge, or just go for it online and wait overnight to a day to download it all in one go. Thanks for the info though, ya'll been very helpful


    EDIT: Oh and Allison, gotta' say.. I love the ME collection.. Had them all on my xbox when I played console gaming..
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  8. #8


    Posts : 85
    Windows 10 64-bit/ Windows 8.1 64-bit


    Quote Originally Posted by Jarminx View Post
    The only thing I see right now with those options, is if I get the game disc, I can install the game and then just wait for the patch files.. My internet isn't the best, 2-5mpbs on a good day so the less I can download the better. However, that being said if there's a performance boost of course I don't mind waiting, but from what I understand games these days are installed completely onto the HDD/SSD which means it's the same performance as if it were downloaded. I suppose now I need to decide whether I get the disc and hope the patch files aren't too huge, or just go for it online and wait overnight to a day to download it all in one go. Thanks for the info though, ya'll been very helpful


    EDIT: Oh and Allison, gotta' say.. I love the ME collection.. Had them all on my xbox when I played console gaming..
    Well, I know the Legendary editions contained all the patches for Skyrim so that would eliminate most if not all of your downloading, excluding the exquisite experience of mods you just have to try out! There is absolutely no performance boost download versus disc because they are both as said before installed.

    I'm such a sucker for the Mass Effect series that I have the games for both PC and XBOX 360, and all the story DLCs, excluding Pinnacle Station. I've sunk so many hours into the franchise and you have to get them for PC, part of any great collection. They have a basic trilogy set out at the moment. By 'when I played console gaming', does that mean you don't play on console anymore?
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  9. #9


    Louisiana, USA
    Posts : 172
    Windows 8.1 x64 OEM


    Quote Originally Posted by Allison View Post
    Well, I know the Legendary editions contained all the patches for Skyrim so that would eliminate most if not all of your downloading, excluding the exquisite experience of mods you just have to try out! There is absolutely no performance boost download versus disc because they are both as said before installed.

    I'm such a sucker for the Mass Effect series that I have the games for both PC and XBOX 360, and all the story DLCs, excluding Pinnacle Station. I've sunk so many hours into the franchise and you have to get them for PC, part of any great collection. They have a basic trilogy set out at the moment. By 'when I played console gaming', does that mean you don't play on console anymore?
    Well, I have the xbox still but I have certain nerve/wrist issues that, believe it or not, doesn't allow me to use the controllers for gaming consoles anymore.. I have no problem using the keyboard and mouse though so all my gaming has moved over to PC. Haven't gotten very far yet since the computer I have now is my first build, but I'm planning on getting a good collection up and rollin' with the new computer.. When I did game on console, I also bought every ME game with every downloadable and extra.. I had the collector's edition for ME2, and I tell you it was downright awesome! I wanted the collector's for ME3 but alas finances told me otherwise.. Loved those games.. I used to be a Halo fan and I tell you, ME passed up Halo by a long-shot!
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  10. #10


    USA
    Posts : 689
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Quote Originally Posted by Jarminx View Post
    However, that being said if there's a performance boost of course I don't mind waiting, but from what I understand games these days are installed completely onto the HDD/SSD which means it's the same performance as if it were downloaded.
    Don't get confused here - going one way or the other doesn't beget you a performance boost. Game performance is still determined by the PC's hardware, software, or internet connection in the case of on-line gaming.

    And yes, most games today are installed on the hard drive negating the need to have a disk installed in the optical drive.

    Peace

    BTW I'm also a huge Mass Effect fan and also have played all three games including all the DLC's. I'm strictly PC though.
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