Most seem to agree that the future of the video game industry is digital. Sadly, I think the future of a great many things in this world lies in the cold and remote digital realm.
For the record, I am not against progression or advancement. I'm not against technology. What I'm against is the deification of enhanced technology that defies common sense and utilizes smoke and mirrors to create the illusion of progression.
The appeal of digital seems absolutely nonexistent to me. One can argue download speeds will get faster and despite the increasing size of games, all games will eventually be delivered digitally. All right. Say that works fine. Say it saves you a trip to the store. I understand the argument; it means you save on gas, save yourself the headache of (God forbid) having to go outside and interact with other humans for scant seconds, and saves you – ideally – time. So say you download the game you've been waiting for and you're all happy.
Explain to me the next day. Or the next year. Explain to me what happens when your hard drive shits the bed. Explain what happens when a file gets corrupted (yeah, it has been known to happen). Explain how uploading to the cloud, saving on a USB or backing up in some other way, is somehow supposed to make our lives easier, simpler, or faster. Explain how updates, patches, DRM, and downloadable content is more efficient or more practical. Explain to me how something as trivial as a power outage can royally screw your gaming hobby in the future, while decades ago, it just made me lose my place. It didn't mean I couldn't get my damn game from the store.
Twenty five years go – a full quarter-century – I put a game into a system, pressed a button and played.
Yes, everything is vastly more advanced today. I get that. But I'm really not convinced that even the best advancements we've got are worth the future headaches that I'm anticipating. We've already reached the point where playing on a console feels suspiciously like playing on a PC, what with the patches and constant "connected" incentives and requirements. Now you tell me delivering a game digitally is preferable or better? What if my connection just gives out halfway through? What if there's a flippin' power outage? What if I want to upgrade to a new system later on? How long will it take to transfer game files and game saves in my collection? What, do I black out a whole day on my calendar?
I fail to see how any of this is better, besides the obvious fact that this will allow the industry to save some money. The packaging and shipping aspect is very expensive, after all. But that should translate to cheaper costs, yes? If the physical copy of a game costs the same as the digital copy (and it often does right now), what's the point ? Just so we can point at another video screen and go, "looky looky at what I'm doing now !" In foreseeing the potential problems involved, the sheer amount of irritation, frustration and yes, time lost on dealing with this digital crap is beyond ridiculous.
The worst part is that the seemingly mindless younger generations, who may already be partly robotic due to spending the majority of their lives staring at a video screen already, don't seem to get it. For those of us living in the real world, it's painfully obvious. This is all besides the fact that a tangible physical collection should be far, far more important to anyone who actually cares about this hobby. Oh, and I could spend a lot longer talking about the constant threat of identity theft completely invading this industry if everything goes digital; I don't know about you, but I'll miss a time when I could play a game without having to worry about who just stole my personal info. But I suppose nobody notices or cares.