|Map of the Internet|
Over time Internet became also an online marketplace. I disliked this at first, but I should have known better and see that commercial applications were unavoidable. Being such a dinosaur, I've adapted to buying digital content a bit slowly. It took some time before the collector in me learned to accept the idea of owning digital goods.
The shift must have started from music in my case, through making MP3s of my CD collection. I never actually had a separate portable music player. I played MP3s with a computer and later with mobile phones. When iTunes went DRM free, I decided to try and buy music online. Later I have switched to Nokia Music mainly because it allows downloading the bought albums more than once. This is nice when you're using multiple devices. I guess iTunes still has this silly restriction of one download?
The next step were video games. One day I noticed that it was possible to purchase the old classics online. Say no more, sold. You just couldn't hope to find some of those games anywhere else. With affordable prices and lots of sales campaigns, it's so easy to fall in love with Steam and GOG.com.
How many indie games would you have bought without digital distribution channels? I think I would have totally missed the most. Now new interesting ideas and concepts are rising from indie games, whereas AAA titles usually play it safe. I fully agree with anyone thinking that digital distribution has saved indie game development. The various indie bundles are offering great deals and selling large enough volumes to make developers happy. And everyone wins.
The final step in my turning were the eBooks and digital magazines. When 7-inch tablets came to market, I got seriously interested. The screen size is adequate for reading and devices are small enough to carry around. In addition, tablets are suitable for videos and casual gaming.
And somewhere along the way I decided that I have enough DVDs and Blu-rays and just stopped buying more. My next Blu-ray purchase better be a timeless masterpiece. Otherwise I'm going for video on demand.
Looking back, I see that it took me about 20 years to turn from filling the shelves with games, movies and books to wanting to reduce all the excess stuff. I'm still a collector by heart, but I can now hide the mess into a digital storage space. Free cloud services are making this even easier and the market is expected to grow. The benefits of digital content are numerous: wide selection of entertainment with affordable prices, minimal storage space and the same availability whether you live in a big city or a small village.
They made some great music in the 80's, which helped me to hundreds of hours to playing Elite on Commodore 64, or just pass the time. If you got bored, there were three TV channels to choose from. While it's fun to think back, I would pass the opportunity to step into a time machine. Someone else can go instead.