As the next generation rumors ramp up, one thing seems certain: physical media is still in, and it’s likely to be a disc. Blu-ray seems all but certain given the space requirements.
But how ’bout no?
There’s nothing inherently wrong with disc based formats. After all, since the dawn of Turbo CD, the industry has laid disc media on its back. In that era, it was fresh, breaking new ground for memory space and technology. Now, it’s vintage.
Looking over my personal collection, I see far too many discs. It’s boring. I find myself less attached to modern media than the oddballs. There was something artistic about seeing different cartridge or box designs, even if the alterations were subtle (see: Genesis and 32X). Looking at rows upon rows of DVD-like media doesn’t have the excitement anymore. It’s old hat if you will.
When the Vita hit, it was a weirdly joyous scenario. The cases felt and looked different. The games came on unique looking cards that gave them their own sense of appeal. I feel like I’m playing or experiencing something different, even if the games are ports. Packaging means a lot, but as we slip into the realm of digital, it’s clearly not a genuine focus for publishers.
Cost factors into different storage forms. Industry heads surely don’t want to spend more money to issue their games, but in the back of my head, I wish for media that isn’t so fallible. In my fantasy realm, I’m envisioning future video game searches as safer, not worrying if my latest garage sale find will function because of a scratch. People can be careless with solid state carts or cards, not so much with discs.
Most of you are probably rolling your eyes at this. Who cares as long as the game is fun, right? That is the proper train of thought, but it’s hard to ignore how boring the uniform can be. There’s no visual excitement or differentiation to the modern consoles, whereas Sega and Nintendo hated each other so much in the 16-bit war, they couldn’t even decide on standardized box types. Now, the gaming landscape is like a world where everyone likes the same things. That’s not fun for anyone.