To start off there is no clear winner it’s based on many factors
For example if you missed out on playing a lot of video games released in the past
you can now download a lot of games released in recent years to your HDD
from online PSN Store game prices ranging from $20-30
so if you have the space to spare i.e. a large HDD this is the way to go for classic video games
When it does not matter?
Recent video games like Dishonored and Far Cry 3 disc versions
have a partial install that equals an or nearly the full size of the game
Dishonored partial disc install is 5GB the digital version being 6GB
Far Cry 3 you actually do a full disc install of the game
both partial and digital version being at the same size nearing 6GB
Downloading The Digital Version of New Video Games Released?
With Sony’s campaign for Day 1 Digital on PlayStation 3
a lot of the major games can be downloaded but at the same price as retail $50-60
The first thing is what type a game is it?
if it’s a large sized long game with a large download size ranging from 15-20GB an or more then overall the digital version is the way to go
since the partial install size usually does not come close to half an or more of the total size of the game Ni no Kuni for example
a game where your going back and forth between battle screens a lot
so in the long run this a good example of why to go digital
However this is where it gets tricky with a game like Hitman Absolution that actually has no partial install that is a 19GB game
the disc version is fine to go with since the way the game loads the world via classic leveled campaign structure
digital version not having much of a large advantage in this regards
Will Retail Disc ever be abandoned?
No at least not on the next life cycle of next gen consoles PS Orbis & Xbox 720p
However with Sony going nearly full digital expect Microsoft to follow as well
most video games to be available to download on date of release via online stores
possibly having special DLC content
In the end retail disc sales will drop off 2-3 years into the next gen consoles phase
making way for the full digital video game revolution kicking into future consoles