There are two ways to look at physical media. Some see it as needless clutter; useless relics taking up shelf space and collecting the airborne remnants of your dearly departed skin cells. Others, however, see rows and rows of boxes and books with a sense of pride -- proof that they have incredibly good taste when it comes to spending free time. According to the NPD, those two parties are rapidly becoming equal when it comes to gaming, with 21.3 million "full-game" PC titles downloaded (legally) in 2009 and 23.5 million boxed copies sold. That's awfully close, and ignores all the PSN and XBLA titles that are currently making our console hard drives cry for mercy. Should brick and mortar software stores be nervous? Not according to GameStop
CEO J. Paul Raines, whose franchises are decidedly ceramic and paste-based: "The world won't be all digital tomorrow... In this business, users still want physical content." And he's right, you know. We'd say it'll be more like 18 - 24 months.