Is Physical Digital Media Dying?

I remember when CDs were first introduced. As a young person who had been dealing with a dozen or so disks for every game I wanted to play, the concept of all this information, and a great deal more, fitting onto a single disk was utterly mind blowing. Of course today CDs are old hat, and DVDs can fit many times the information of a single CD. But back in the day the enormous leap in technology was profound.

I recall that games suddenly transformed in astonishing ways, given that so much more data could be allocated to a single game. Games started to incorporate voices properly for the first time, because space now existed for all the audio files, and the first time I saw a game with real voice acting I nearly fell off my chair. CDs were the way of the future, clearly, and I couldn’t begin to imagine a world where they were becoming obsolete.

Today, of course, physical media is becoming slowly obsolete, and I can’t help but think that in a few years most games will stop even having physical releases altogether. It’s sad in a way, since there is something very comforting about having your own physical copy of a digital product, but at the same time it’s pretty obvious to see why disks are no longer required, or asked for.

Online Kills The DVD Store

Who needs disks when Internet speeds have come as far as they have? As an example, I own roughly 140 PC games, and have physical copies of exactly 5 of those games. And, if we’re being completely honest, the 5 physical copies I do have are sitting in a corner, gathering layers of dust. I make an effort to wipe a rag over them from time to time, just so they don’t feel neglected, but if we’re being sensible they simply don’t have a place in my online collection of games.

In other words; physical copies of digital media don’t have a place in the modern world, and it is no surprise then that physical outlets of games and other digital media are dying. After all, would there be any reason to go out and buy physical copies of digital casino games in this day and age? Of course not. These games are extremely easy to play online, and offering them to anyone on a disk would be the biggest act of futility in history.

In fact, I believe that online casinos are as successful as they are in part because no disks are required. Each player has access to the online casino games they want, and that access is instant. Imagine having to have discs for each of the 300+ online slots a decent casino has to offer? Thanks but no thanks. And that more or less is the keyword of the situation; instant. And disks are not instant.

Physical Media Is Special

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that many premium copies of modern games are physical, and offer various little novelty items as a means to justify the physical version. Some games, for example, have action figures that ship with the game disk, and now we’re touching on something rather interesting about the modern digital situation. Digital is not physical, and although this is convenient, it limits the appeal of the product in a number of ways. Physical, partly because it is becoming obsolete and therefore rare, and partly because of the simple appeal of something being physical, is becoming a new type of special.

I personally don’t buy premium copies of games, simply because I know that at the most, a game will hold my attention for a few days, and that certainly doesn’t justify my paying extra for a special copy. But I have many friends who do buy premium copes of games, and proudly display their action figures, and various other novelty items, for all to see.

So, perhaps, physical copies of media wont become obsolete entirely, but simply be limited to being premium. And that certainly is an interesting thought, but also a logical one, given the nature of the digital world. I, for one, can appreciate that as an evolutionary step. And furthermore, am somewhat interested to see what physical objects might be included with future physical copies of media to classify those copies as premium.

Digital Casino Physical Evolution

I thought a bit about how digital casinos might tap into the concept that physical is premium, and realised that there is a world of opportunity there still unexplored. Perhaps it’s already happening and I’m simply not aware, but I really think that online casinos might consider sending preferred customers physical novelty items, as a means to show appreciation.

For example, a person might get sent a small trinket if they log into the casino for a certain number of days consecutively. Appreciation is already shown in the form of digital casino prizes, but I feel that physical items would go a long way to making customers feel special, and give the entirely digital online casino a physical face. Perhaps a plush mascot, or a little gold coin.

As always, if this becomes common in the future, I fully expect credit for coming up with the idea.

Marc Armstrong - Signature

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