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How to Play Computer Games Without Using the CDs or DVDs

Updated on October 23, 2012
Video Game Screen Shot, Guild Wars 2 Digital Copy: Just as good as a physical disk version!
Video Game Screen Shot, Guild Wars 2 Digital Copy: Just as good as a physical disk version! | Source

Computer games have always come in disk form: this is because it is easy to sell a protected disk that cannot be copied, creating a safe place for the company to be while allowing customers to use their product. However, there have been a lot of changes in technology and a lot of companies now have digital copies which are a lot easier to circulate yet still hard to steal.

Digital copies of games make it easy for someone who does not have a CD or DVD drive to be able to play games they otherwise would not be able to use at all. But how do we get these games? There are many sources but some are safer than others, so let us go through and explore the different ways to play computer games without using CDs or DVDs.


Steam is a program which is a digital distribution agent. Or in a more easy to understand way, Steam is an online store in which to buy games to get the digital copies onto your computer via downloading them. This means that Steam cuts out a lot of steps in the usual purchase of a game: going to a store, interacting with people, handing a breakable form of information transference, using said item in a computer that can read it.

This means many people can bypass certain sticky areas in buying a game. It may be hard to get out of the house. It may be difficult to interact with people. Perhaps there is no disk drive in the computer. Mayhaps clumsiness runs amok in life and items are constantly broken or lost.

In any situation, Steam allows you to easily buy a digital copy, download it, and play it. Because Steam has less costs (physical business costs like rent, utilities, staff, materials, etc) there are often sales as well, slashing prices on games you would have to pay a lot more for in a physical store.

Digital Copies and Other Companies

Many other companies are following Steam's model with their own games. For instance, World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 gave direct digital downloads for their games. Because of the cost of materials in creating a disk and packaging, shipping costs, and the fact that more and more people are going without disk drives I expect more companies to begin offering digital copies.

Rumors about the next generation Xbox and Playstation often stated that these would be without disk drives and totally digital. This brings up discussions about the role of physical copies of games in our economy and what negative impacts would be brought about with a transition to purely digital copies of games, since both the resale industry and material industry are so dependent on a transition like that not happening.

Advanced Diskless Play

Though it is a little antiquated and highly specific, there is another way in which you can play games without CDs or DVDs. This involves getting a .ISO copy of a disk online (or a virtual disk) and using a virtual machine to run it. In simplest terms this means creating a virtual computer and putting your virtual disk into it to run whatever you want. This is highly advanced and I would suggest a lot of research or contacting someone who works with computers before bothering with this because Steam and other digital retailers are a much simpler route to take.

Good Luck!

I hope you found something here useless. At one time I had a burnt out disk drive and was unable to play games myself, which was quite frustrating. I am glad times have changed so much and digital copies are now in such abundance. Good luck with your gaming, and have fun!

Have you ever had problems with a disk drive and had to look for an alternative?

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