The Future of Physical Content

Best Buy has announced that it is not going to sell physical copies of DVDs, Blu-Rays and 4K discs anymore in the near future. This is the way things are going right now. Consumers are moving on to digital media when it comes to games and movies. It doesn’t help that there are consoles that enable you to play older retro games and also new games on discs.

Is the physical media going to disappear? We don’t know the exact answer. I think there is always going to exist some gamers that need to have their game as a physical copy. These copies might be some kind of collectors editions that have a little more higher price than the regular standard version of the game. We have already witnessed an increase in in prices of games be that they are digital or physical. So, the amount of games sold as physical copies has been decreasing but I think we are not ready to move on to a world without these discs that we have our games on even today.

This is very interesting and I have recently been reading a lot about this matter. If you think about upcoming game releases and purchasing a copy of your favorite upcoming game beforehand I think digital is way easier and more trustworthy to be handled when it comes to delivering the game. Just last summer when Diablo IV was released I wanted to order it beforehand. You can probably guess how it went, right? Game developers don’t want their games to be released before their actual release day so they won’t let game shops deliver these games too early. This problem doesn’t exist in a digital world.

I have to admit that I like to own a physical copy of my game. Well, maybe not every game, right? Big box games still look good on a gamer’s bookshelf. There are many ways to view this matter. Having loads of games can be a challenge if you are considering to collect these games. I have loads of games on my bookshelf and I had to move some of them away from this bookshelf because they take so much space.

We have already seen how things are today with PC games. Steam and many other online game stores have taken over the markets. You hardly ever see a DVD drive on a PC. If you like you can of course get a drive that you can use by connecting it to your PC with a USB cable. It is although easier to just buy the game from Steam or some other web shop. I myself have a special retro laptop for playing older PC games. It runs Windows XP. It works very nicely.

If we are talking about PC games you have this constant feel that you have to buy newer operating system and/or newer computer that has a good GPU, CPU and SSD hard drive. This is a reason to keep consumers to pay for their ability to use a computer be it for playing games or for some other use. Everybody needs a PC today, right?

What about older games? I think there is something a bit wrong in this way of thinking. We should make sure that old games are available for us in the future also. These retro consoles aren’t going to last for 20 years. We have to come up with solutions to these questions so we won’t loose our precious history in video gaming. This is at least how I am thinking right now here and today.

Nothing Special to See Here

This image here is a screenshot from Forza Horizon 5. I am playing it currently on my Xbox Series X. I bought it recently as a digital copy. It cost me about 40 euros. I was happy that I didn’t have to pay more for it. It isn’t the newest racing game after all.

I bought also some other games. I noticed that there are some Xbox 360 and original Xbox games available as digital copy and they were on a discount also. So, I picked up some more games. There were 9 games all in all. I picked up Red Faction II, The Darkness, Contra, Vampyr, Flashback, Call of Cthulhu, Crimson Skies – High Road to Revenge, FH5 and Gears of War 4. This cost me only about 75 euros. I saved over 100 euros. If you can call spending money saving money. Well, I think we can.

Some people are talking and even worrying about spending too much money buying gaming stuff. I don’t think gaming would be different from any other hobby that you have to spend money in. You need equipment in sports. You need money if you drive a car. How is gaming different? This talk about money makes me think about some of these big game releases. We can take the latest Zelda game for example. It is Tears of the Kingdom. I think they have a huge marketing budget. This is reality. It is so because I did saw a commercial on a bus stop just some weeks ago. I don’t remember seeing a game advertised on a bus stop here in a long period of time. If this has happened earlier, I don’t remember what the game might have been.

Forza Horizon 5 is already an old game. It isn’t actually old. Its just not the newest game providing racing and entertainment. I decided to start playing it because I hadn’t done it earlier. It has received some good ratings. It would take me at least 20 hours of time to finish it. Or so tells the well-known website named “How Long to Beat”. This is my preferred website if I want to seek information about how long does a game last. Some times, like in the case of Diablo II – Resurrected, I have noticed that it takes me some more time to complete a game than what is told on this website. If you want to see the website, just use your favorite search engine. As you might have noticed I don’t promote any special search engine.

I am hoping to enjoy some more Forza Horizon 5. I hope that I can finish it some day soon. I have spent already maybe 5 hours playing it. There is, as is usual today, many different areas of interest in this game. There’s a lot going on. We have definitely more than a racing game  here. I hope to continue playing it and to explore its content as thoroughly as is possible.

Things Are Going Digital

Some days ago I got a new gaming console, Xbox Series X, that has an optical disk drive. I was excited about it’s new features. I was thinking already, dreaming actually, about going to our local super market. I thought there would be at least a game or two for my new Xbox. And of course some 4K movies.

I was disappointed as I actually got to the market. I found one game available. I wouldn’t have bought this game but I was thinking that at least I am not going back home empty handed. So I went and bought Grand Theft Auto Trilogy. There were no movies available. Every movie that I saw was DVD or Blu-ray.

What I understood about my trip to the market was that there actually were lots of gift cards available to both PS and Xbox stores. And when I think about it, I actually saw some PS5 games being sold as physichal copies. Of course you might have a credit card and so you don’t have to necesssarily buy gift cards. There are also web stores that sell  gift card codes and it is easy to order them.

It seems that there are plenty of downloadable games available today. There are also subscription services that let you play a huge library of games and you have to pay montlhy fee to keep playing them. This way you actually don’t own these games. There are these kinds of subscriptions for movies as well as you might already know.

There are different possibilities. Some like to buy their movies and games and actually own them. It is possible to own a digital movie. In Xbox store for example you can pay to be able to watch a movie for two weeks or you can pay a bit more to actually keep the movie in your service and watch it as many times as you want.

Going towards digital subscription services when it comes to modern entertainment seems to be the trend today. I have tried to get my hands on to some 4K movies from some online stores, but it seems that there are only few movies available and those that are available aren’t as interesting as they could be. But it helps me a bit that I now have a gaming console that can play also Xbox One games which are widely available as used copies.

SteamOS – An Alternative to Windows

For a long period of time Windows has dominated the scene of playing games with a PC. There is always an alternative and that is Linux. If you have played video games on your personal computer you have most likely stumbled on Steam. It is Valve’s, yes, the company that brought Half-Life to us, brilliant piece of software turned as a game shop application for buying and installing and also maintaining your library of PC games.

There are of course other ways to get your favorite games delivered to you. I have to mention Good Old Games or GOG.com. Some of you might still be buying physical copies of games. You know, those optical discs. They might be CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays or even 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. That is if you even have some sort of an optical drive in your personal computer.

Windows was my choice when I bought my desktop computer almost two years ago. I thought that for the way I use my PC it would be perfect. I have to mention that if you don’t get Windows on the system you are buying you are going to have to pay a lot to get it. I just checked the price of just the operating system Windows 11 and it was 145 euros. That all is just for the operating system.

Linux on the other side is free. It is also open source. What this means is that anyone can participate in making Linux better. I find this kind of comparison between Linux and Windows to be very interesting. In my current job I have had the pleasure to work a bit with PowerShell. This is a deep topic and I am going to just scratch its surface a bit. But let’s say that Linux is open and Windows is closed for what it comes to modifying the code that lies beneath the surface of the operating system.

But what about SteamOS? I can tell you that it is a Linux based operating system. It is free. And it has Steam installed on it. But what is that? I can already hear you talking about how Windows games aren’t compatible with Linux? Well, actually, now they are. Do you know what is “wine”? Let me, again, explain this a bit  further.

Wine is a tool that basically let’s you run software applications that were meant to be launched and run on Windows on Linux. This involves a lot of fiddling with settings and probably some deeper understanding about how software is commonly run on any platform or operating system. But the main point is that it indeed is possible to work with a game or application this way.

Now, when I made my decision of what is going to be my personal computers operating system, I thought a bit how am I going to use the computer. I wanted a machine that could be able to produce some documents so having office tools was important. I also wanted to be able to program on it. This actually works fine in both Linux and Windows. I am also a hobbyist musician as you may recall so it was important that my DAW would work and also that all my VST instruments and effects would be available. And last but not least, as I had a powerful device already, I wanted to be able to play latest PC games on this computer.

What was my choice? It was Windows. If I would have had to install and buy my operating system separately this would have meant that I would have had to buy a Windows license for 145 euros. The alternative would have been to install some Linux distro. Since SteamOS is currently free why not download it? It supports all of the games right?

Valve has had some success as it has brought a working market place and also a place for your gaming library for you the gamer. If you think about also Steam Deck you can clearly understand what is going on right here. Steam Deck is a very good and practical handheld gaming device. And it supports also Steam. I have been using Steam since I got my PC and that was about two years ago.

But would I go and trade my current and working system to SteamOS? I have to say that I am not right now yet ready for it. I am too concerned that I won’t have an opportunity to use my computer to other matters that aren’t about playing games. But I can say it is tempting. I have thought about testing SteamOS and maybe I will install it on some older PC someday.

Doom 64

Today was a day off since it’s Saturday. So in the morning I picked my Xbox Series S controller and figured that I would play a bit Doom 64. I have purchased this some time ago. I have played it and also advanced a bit. I am currently in level 21 out of 28 levels.

If you are interested in classic Doom this might be the best Doom version for you. It has this certain retro feel to it. So Doom 64 was first released for Nintendo 64 and that’s where the name comes from. This game has currently a price of 5 euros. So I encourage you to try this game. There really aren’t any ifs in this matter. I can recommend this for every type of a gamer.

The original Doom was released back in 1993 by Id Software. The graphics were mind blowing for its time. Playing the game can first seem a bit confined but you get the hang of things quickly. There are several different weapons in Doom. My favorite is shotgun but you can also shoot enemies with a rocket launcher, machine gun or plasma gun. You really cannot aim vertically and you can not jump. You can however in Doom 64 set running to automatic.

Shooting enemies is only one aspect of Doom 64. You have to solve some puzzles in somewhat complex levels. Sometimes you have to find a key card to open a door. In the end of the level you get some statistics about how many enemies you eliminated, how long it took to get through the level and how many secrets you found. The level of difficulty can be adjusted considerably.

I really like the Android app that Xbox provides. This featured screenshot was very easy to take and it was also easy to add it from to this blog post. So Microsoft has made things easy for me. Currently I have spent a bit over 9 hours playing this game.

There really isn’t so much in this topic. This is a great game. I think the quality-price ratio is very correct here. You also don’t have to take this game so seriously. I recommend if you think you are going to get this game to relax and explore it thoroughly. There are many thing different here compared to modern games which at times seem maybe a bit boring. This game was released in the days when we could witness a great progression in games we were playing. The era of 3D modeled games was only beginning back then.

Is the Era of Audio CDs Really Over?

I remember when I first got my PS4 back in 2014. I came to understand that from the beginning it didn’t have support for audio CDs. I had to rely on another device for listening to my huge collection of CDs. A while ago I quickly counted how many CDs I have today. It seems that I have over 500 CDs.

My collection of CDs is huge. It has grown more as I have bought several classic hiphop, trance and dance CDs from flee markets. I have this old CD player that I bought for a cheap price. It was used when I got it. It probably didn’t even cost 20 euros. You can today get a new CD player for about 100 euros.

My CD player was always connected to my amplifier through RCA-connection. Earlier today I ordered an adapter that allows me to connect my audio device to any device that supports Bluetooth. Wireless connectivity is a common feature among new CD players. Now I got an update to my device. And it cost me only 40 euros.

So, is the era of CDs actually over? This format of audio has been present since the 1980s. It once decreased sales of vinyls considerably although listening to music from vinyls never completely stopped. When I was a child in the 90s every kid had a CD stereo system and some CDs in their own room. You also had to have a portable CD player since there were no mp3 players or if there were they were very expensive.

Today CD still provides digital quality of audio for different audiences. Some artists still release their music on CDs. Streaming services have made listening to music easy and cheap. The latest gaming console that I have that also supports playing audio CDs is PS3. You can get many kinds of music very cheaply on CD from several flee markets. Prices are for used CDs something form 0,50 euros to 3 euros.

The surface of a disc is very sensitive for getting scratches or dirt on it. When gaming went to storing games in CD format consumers were thinking that children wouldn’t be able to keep these discs working. Nintendo even decided to use cartridges when Nintendo 64 came available. What was the impact of mp3s becoming so popular? It waas clear that you could easily have more than just 700 MB of digital music with you. Actually you soon had something like 4 GB (thats 4000 MB) of space and the advancement of smart phones made the transition to listening music with mp3s or as a streamed service.

I still listen to CDs. I still sometimes even buy new CDs. If I do get some new record I often rip it for my personal use. I transfer then the music to my phone so I can listen to them everywhere I happen to go. Mostly I listen to Spotify. Sometimes I listen to it from my personal computer, like I do right now, and sometimes from my tablet computer. I rarely listen to Spotify from my phone. Spotify seems to be the new standard for listening to music. You can definitely see this when you think about audio CDs and how they are supported by newest gaming systems. Damn. We have this digitality coming from everywhere. We have more and more games and consoles that are only available as digital and not physical. I guess that’s just how the future is currently shaping.

What’s going on with my professional life?

It had been a long time since I had wandered to our local library. That has everything to do with this still ongoing issue of Corona. For a long time libraries were closed or you could only go there to pick a book or two you had already booked. So yesterday, after I had finished my work day, I decided to go there. I found two books. One of them was a science fiction book. Other of these two was a book written in my native tongue that dealt management of media presence.

I was excited when I got home. I managed to read almost 80 pages. Today I have read about 30 pages more. On the cover this book is said to give a point of view to the field of media. This book is written in 2015. It’s not the newest book but I think it manages to give a reasonably good sense of the current situation in the field. I am very excited about this book although I don’t think it has given me new ideas to work out any business plans but it gives a nice perspective to what I have already witnessed as I have practical knowledge of social media and blogging.

If you think about this you can figure that things definitely have changed. There have been the transition from printed to online media just to mention one thing. I would like to tell you also something about what this has to do with me and my professional life or the way I am getting, so to say, food to my table. I was very interested in internet and gaming as a kid so it was natural for me to finally start studying information technology. Later I decided to get more into programming. My goal then was to get a job as a programmer.

That wouldn’t however be so easy. Two years after I had graduated from an university of applied sciences I finally got my first job. That had only a bit to do with my education. I started in a  position of a customer servant. I worked there for six months. After that I was unemployed, again, for a year. Then I got my chance to be a software advisor. I was on my way to gather even more working experience. I had failed my goal to be a software developer but I was also thinking ways to make a career of a different kind. At this time I also started writing this blog.

As I was working I got to understand what kind of a progress was going on as my employer, among many other companies, was moving to cloud based computing. This meant basically the transition in ways to work with tools that were provided by Google and Microsoft. So there were many transitions going on. And there still is. You cannot actually never get to say that things in this field would stay still.

Currently I am working in a webshop. My job is to insert the required information of a product to the database with a simple tool that has a simple user interface. I guess you really have to start somewhere. There were no positions available for me to begin my career in software engineering. However I am not so disappointed in this position. I am glad that I even have a job. You actually can never fully understand where you might be headed.

I am looking forward to learning more about our change as we move towards a more digital world. I enjoyed very much of the book I found from my local library. I am going to continue to work and keep active in social media and also keep writing this blog. Today’s life in work is very different from the one our parents entered back in the 70s or 80s. This topic has only a little to do with games but I wanted to bring this post to you the way I did. After all this is also a diary.

Going Digital

They say that nowadays most PC games are sold as digital copies. I buy latest games today for PS4 and I am not so keen on latest PC games. I had to face this problem as I was planning to buy a laptop computer back in this years July. I assumed that my new laptop would have an optical drive of some kind. At least I was hoping it would have one. Finally it didn’t.

I have a large, well okay, huge, collection of games as physical copies. This includes lots of PC games. I find my retro kinds of games mainly from flee markets or from game shops bargain sales. I know there is these kinds of shops on the internet that you can buy a huge collection of games and they can be old, new, classic or not so known. I know there are lots of people doing this. This could be a way for me too to collect and buy games.

So this issue was current when I had a new, fresh, laptop computer, that had latest Windows operating system on it. But there were no games. There were no software applications. If I wanted to play something I would have to install it from somewhere. And I didn’t have an opportunity, this time, to install from CD-ROM or DVD. I actually went and spent (nice rhyming there) about 45 euros for an external DVD drive, but lets explain my next point first…

The way I remember Steam was mainly as irritating obstacle for me as I was trying to install a game to my own PC. It didn’t allow me to install a game that was registered by another user. I have bought all-in-all about ten games from flee market that I wasn’t able to install or eventually play. And I blamed Steam for it. I became more cautious. If a game had “Steam” on its back side I didn’t buy the used game. This was my view.

As I installed and activated Steam on my new computer I suddenly noticed that Steam enabled me to import all the games that were synchronized to my Steam account. I mean I was able to play any game that I had bought and that were supporting Steam. That’s very good. I think that’s amazing! I don’t have to depend on the physical copy of a game. I can pay for it and register so I can play it on any PC. I say this once more – this is very nice.

Are we going to see more this kind of movement towards digital markets when we are talking about purchasing latest games for latest gaming consoles and computer? The time will tell. I might not be ready for my PlayStation to be only digital but maybe I will buy someday in the future a PC that doesn’t have an optical drive.

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