The big issue with physical media is the general maintenance and upkeep. If you had a VCR you probably remember the thrill of adjusting the tracking when your video inexplicably just started oozing down the screen and tweaking like it hadn't had a drink since this morning. Or how about that VHS copy of Splash you watched too many times that eventually became so worn out and static-riddled it was like watching garbled porn on a cable station you didn't get (which is another thing your kids will never know about).
Gamers went through this, too. When I bought vanilla World Of Warcraft back in the day, I think it came on five or six CDs because the idea of actually downloading the game was as silly as the idea of eating a ham sandwich with no bacon on it. If even one of those fuckers got scratched, you were screwed. Or let's say you installed it just fine, but in the middle of a big boss fight, your mouse suddenly spazzed out, and the cursor shot up to the corner of the screen. That old style mouse had a ball and rollers in it. A little, grey ball that sucked up desk-based schmutz like a magnet. You'd have to pop the bottom of your mouse, pull the ball out, swab off the layer of dog hair, dust, and dried tears on it, then do the same for the tiny little wheels inside. That's a lost art now, like polishing your monocle (the real way, not the euphemism for sticking Pop Rocks in your pee hole).
The point is that the game failed because you failed. You took such poor care of the components, it crapped out. Already today that can be circumvented thanks to a having a hard drive to store games, and in the near future, companies like Sony and Microsoft will just drop the idea of physical media altogether so you have one less thing to get sticky with your Mountain Dew. Because, as we all know, true gamers Do the Dew. Everything will exist in the cloud, and if a game failed, it's not on you -- it's all them.
No more discs means no kid in the future is ever going to have that moment when they take a scratched copy of Earthworm Jim and try to rub peanut butter across the bottom of it because someone somewhere once said that will repair surface scratches ... even though I've never actually met anyone who got that to work and it mostly left my Final Fantasy VIII smelling like a middle-schooler's sandwich from back when middle-schoolers were allowed to have Final Fantasy VIII sandwiches.
For more check out 6 Things Our Kids Just Plain Won't Get and 5 Oddly Specific Things That Won't Exist In Our Kids' Lives.
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