The future of entertainment is a glorious, wonderful place.
In the future, no longer will you be bogged down by all the cumbersome (and potential fire hazard) boxes and packaging used to store and transport your media in today's primitive conditions.No longer will you have to worry about your laser-cat accidentally eating your brand new copy of the latest iteration of Madden Hyper-Murder Ball 2042. And all you future Xbox 4200 players out there can sleep easy knowing that L.A. Douche, Team Bondi's take at fighting crime in a historically accurate Los Angeles circa 2011, won't have to ship on 36 SHDLOMD's (Super High Definition Living Organic Matter Disc) like their last release. No, in this glorious new age, all of our media will be streamed directly into our iBrains, which have been surgically implanted into our cerebellum, delivering entertainment straight into the fun-loving center of our brains, which in your time is used to process such antiquated things as "Algebra" or "Hygiene" (subsequently replaced by "Beer Bong" and "All-Nun Wet T-Shirt Contest", respectively). Discs, boxes, manuals, and all other relics from that bygone era will be a thing of the past, and we shall all live in a world free of clutter, excess, and hassle.
Unless you lose your iTunes password.
Or your internet is down.
Or the server fucks up.
Or your account gets wiped.
And if those things happen... well, you know, I guess there's books.
Fuck digital distribution. If it's the future like everybody says, you can go ahead and stick me in the time capsule right next to Soap Operas and the polar bear reading The New York Times. I like my media the way I like my naked women; physical, tangible objects that I can hold in my hands and won't be offended by my lack of pants.
Allow me to share my story of how I got turned off the whole "Digital Revolution".
A few Christmasses ago, I received the gift to beat all gifts that year (though the Cavaliers beating the Lakers was a close second), my very first Ipod (a touch, no less). All my childhood everyone around me had these mystical devices, these wells of infinite entertainment, and finally I had one to call my own. And trust me when i say it was worth the wait. I loved that thing, took it with me everywhere I went, always trying new apps, me and that thing were inseparable. It was my Sidekick, for lack of a better term.
And the best part? It can play all my music, anytime, ever. What more could I ask for? I put all my CD's on it, but that wasn't enough. Looking at the iTunes store, seeing all that delicious music i wasn't hearing, I knew i had to branch out. But being to young to have a credit card, I had to find an alternative method of procuring my tunes. That alternative method was simple enough, I'd just buy iTunes gift cards and redeem them on my iPod, downloading my songs directly to the device itself, cutting out the cumbersome synching process. A win win, what could go wrong?
Well, one day the PC I had been using to synch my iPod mysteriously went out of commission (might have something to do with it belonging to my grandma who doesn't know not to trust Nigerian princes on the internet). No big deal i thought, I'll just synch it to another. So when she got a new computer and I synched my iPod to it, it informed me that the contents of this computers iTunes library would be sent to my iPod. Being a new computer, this computer was totally empty.
Just like that, all my music I'd payed my hard earned money for was gone, vaporized into thin air. My iPod was empty. Not a trace. I thought for sure there was some way to recover the data, but all my internet searching found me was people who had had similar things happen to them. The advice offered was basically "hope you lubed up first, maybe if you're lucky you'll get a kiss after Apple is done fucking you".
That was the day the illusion of digital distribution was shattered for me. If i can't get a physical product that I don't have to use a password to access or connect to the internet to verify, then that product can shove a fat baseball bat up it's asshole.
Now this post hasn't been very gaming-centric, but every time i hear someone talking about the future of gaming and how they can't wait for everything to go digital, this experience creeps into my mind and I think of how much I dread the (admittadly inevitable) day we all go digital. When that time comes, I'll just hope that I can run electricity into my log cabin so I can play a game of Reach.
And that the future has invented a suitable form of splinter-relief from injuries I'm sure to sustain from the wooden "companion" my solitude will drive me to create.