Let me just say this is not a post endorsing piracy :P. I am talking of course about digital distribution. I have used steam, Gametap and ealink which are all varying shades of awesome. Steam and Gametap being the best of the bunch. My thoughts on this have gone through 3 distinct stages. Skepticism, acceptance, and lastly embracing it. It all started out with steam who offered it free to any game you have already purchased from them. Letting the service grow on you like a friendly moss. Finally i dipped my toe into the murky depths of digital download's with psyconauts. A game almost impossible to find anywhere else.
It all just worked. I love it that i can let anyone play my games by just installing the client on there computer and have the game stream on. No more lost keys or scratched cd's(a big deal for me). I almost find it archaic now when I use a cd to install something.
Then I gave Gametap a go. It still has its flaws but does a brilliant job of streaming multiple games onto your computer. Many stream as you are playing them minimizing the download time. If you haven't tried zork grand inquisitor you must give it a go, its brilliant. Since i had such great experiences with both i used EA link for C&C 3 which is less awesome. Download game, uncompress, uncompress (again?), install and THEN play. Once you go through that it is smooth sailing, in fact many problems people have with the physical version don't exist with the CDless version.
So why bother with buying them in stores anyway? The only argument I can think of is the bargain bin, and people without broadband. In the age of nearly infinitely large hard drives we can avoid allot of problems. I have to be honest i do miss the manual and the shiny box a little but in the grand scheme the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
PS. The weather was really nice a couple days ago so i decided to take my motorbike out. All of a sudden a giant wall of clouds came rushing towards me. Decided to take a couple pics on my phone. Both ominious and beautifull.