Over recent years there has been a push towards digital media. There are many positives to this including the fact that it saves space and resources. As a father of 1 with a small house space is a premium, I can have tonnes of digital media and it won't take up any more physical space. Also a lot of the time digital media is accessible from different location via online services like Netflix or the cloud, this makes it really convenient to access resources from many different locations and there is no risk that the digital media can be lost or stolen. Digital media can be cheaper to acquire the physical copies, especially when it comes to rare or retro games. For example Mother on the SNES used to trade on eBay for over £100 but now is available from the Nintendo online store for only £6.49.
There are many pros for buying digital but I have my concerns.
Physical media has a resale value. With some games costing £60 on release I like the fact that if I like it I can keep it in my collection but if don't or I don't think it is worth having permanently I can sell it on. I can afford now to keep all my physical games but as a child I depended on trading to purchase the next game, otherwise there was no way I could have afforded it on my £2 a week pocket money.
However my concern with digital media is mostly to do with the legacy.
PT, the free Silent Hills demo from Sony, is no longer downloadable on the PS Store. Many Sega games have been taken down from iOS, only downloadable to those who bought them initially and can download again but not for new customers.
If Metropolis, Fritz Lang's masterpiece were a digital only release made now it would have been lost to the digital ether, same for F. W. Marnau's Nosferatu. Games such as Silicon Knights Too Human, which was successfully destroyed due to copyright infringement would no longer be available in the digital marketplace.
Many modern games use online servers to play multiplayer, but after some time the servers are turned off meaning the multiplayer is no longer accessible.
But its not all doom and gloom. The internet creates tribes and ardent fans, there will always be someone or a small group who preserve something of interest and disseminate its. As a Mysterious Cities of Gold fan it was thanks to joining the Goldlist mailing list that I was kept up to date on developments on the new series. YouTube uploaders also preserve classics like Quatermass and emulators upload roms of classic and obscure games onto websites.
So the whole issue is pretty complex but for me physical media is the way for most ways to consume most media but there are occasions for digital media.