Oh, let’s get physical… Physical!
As the years go by and content delivery methods and technologies advance is there still a place and a market for physical media, or are we nearing the end of games that once came in big bulky cardboard boxes complete with killer artwork and novel length instruction manuals? Are brick and mortar game institutions becoming a distance memory of a time when renowned developers were idolized for their ability to craft great stories and give pubescent teenagers a way to escape bullying and be mighty in other realms.
Do us gamer’s concede to the inevitable that within a generation or two buying physical will be gone and everything will be delivered via the internet and removed just as easy. I grew up in a time of video games first loading up on cartridge, then cassette followed by floppy disc, CD and ultimately DVD. Then came the internet slowly at first (36 Kpbs) and then the invention of digital downloads and streaming, the changes I have seen have been both great and somewhat overwhelming, one day your purchasing a replacement DVD drive for an aging PC, then along comes Steam and changes the PC Gaming landscape forever.
Lag not Frag!
My first streaming experience came in 2011 when Steve Perlman and OnLive brought about “Brag Clips” and the ability to watch others game via a Micro Console – I still have the gadget in a storage box in the attic, sadly and this is the caveat with content delivered this way, if the venture goes belly up, you might be lucky to get back what you have put in – for me, when OnLive went way of the Dodo I had only invested in Dead Island so it wasn’t that much of an apocalyptic bumming.
Lesson learned, wide birth Stadia and other bandwagon companies that are ploughing zillions into altering the future, here’s looking at you Luna. Good name for a dog or maybe a cat! Physical copies of games, the camaraderie of fellow nerds and geeks cloaked in Demin jackets blazoned with pin badges and rock mullet’s congregating (camping outside for days) their local video game store for the release of a hotly anticipated follow-up at just before midnight that’s what physical gaming was about.
I know you can’t live in the past and as gamer’s we have to adopt and adapt to new fandangle’s and stupid buzz words that are just clever ways of leaching money from the naïve and sucker punching the battle-hardened, but there was nothing like queuing outside Game with a McDonald’s coffee in-hand, talking achievements and exchanging gamertags then racing home to install Halo 3 and then go on a Masterchief bender for 12 hours solid and then ring work the following day, you’ve had a Flood!
One can argue that storing physical can get cumbersome and going fully digital downloads gives you the advantage of pre-loading and is better for the environment, apparently? I get some of that… But once you give the manufacturers and developers full control of how we choose to purchase content we loose the ability lend, buy second hand, rummage around charity shops for bargains and sadly put a retailer out of work.
I’m trying to be optimistic and hold on to the fact that I have danced the physical realm for over four decades and lived through games taking upwards of 5 minutes to load – made better by the Ocean Loader on the bombastic Commodore 64, sadly by time PlayStation 7 /Xbox Series X2, or whatever abomination of a name Microsoft comes up with? Digital downloads will have killed the video game star.
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