Like it or not, we're headed towards a world where media is consumed digitally rather than physically. Over the past few decades we've seen CDs, movies and books all cross over to the digital frontier, and while the printed word will arguably always be around, physical discs for music and movies are slowly but surely dying out as downloads and streaming become more popular.
This is clearly keeping Hideo Kojima awake at night, as he's been posting about the death of physical media on his Twitter account. If you already follow the Metal Gear creator, you'll know that he has a voracious appetite for physical media and is forever posting photos of his latest movie and music purchases.
However, he's keenly aware that this won't last forever, and he laments the fact that soon, we won't have physical, lasting access to the media we consume:
Such concerns are well-founded. As we discussed a few years back, an all-digital future means trading convenience and the ability to carry around you collection with reduced rights when it comes to ownership; when you buy a album on CD, you can listen to that CD for as long as its physically playable (which might not be as long as you think), but if you buy the same album digitally, you could lose access to it at any point for a whole number of reasons. You don't actually own anything but the right to access that music digitally.
While Kojima doesn't mention games in his posts, the same thing is happening in the sphere of interactive entertainment, too, with digital sales growing all the time (last year, 67% of UK game sales were digital, while Nintendo is seeing massive year-on-year increases in downloads on Switch).
It's therefore not hard to see a moment in time where discs and game cards are removed from the equation; many people have already embraced the convenience of digital media, and, with the PS5 and Xbox Series S/X, physical games are simply a delivery method; like digital titles, they have to be installed onto your console's SSD and cannot be run directly from the disc itself (something which makes the Switch somewhat unique).
Then there's the fact that games can be delisted and removed from distribution, removing the ability to access them. Kojima has first-hand experience of this, of course, thanks to the fact that his former employer, Konami, removed one of his most celebrated works from distribution.
While there's a healthy niche when it comes to collecting physical games these days – especially on Switch – it's easy to see that becoming the exception rather than the rule. When that day comes, at least we know Kojima will be shedding a tear along with the rest of us.