I really despise all the lawsuits and attacks the ‘entertainment’ industry inflicts on consumers. I won’t get into the whole copyright infringement, making available, copy protection and other interference that these groups impose on consumers (don’t get me started on how they persuade lawmakers to spend tax dollars to ‘protect’ their ‘assets’), but instead will rant about something that may normally go unnoticed. That is CD and DVD packaging. These things are locked up tighter than Fort Knox! Talk about a reason for online distribution! First, you have to navigate the huge plastic security holder for which the cashier does not have the unlock dohickey for, thus needs to ask other cashiers and ultimately the manager to retrieve (I guess that notched piece of plastic costs a small fortune, so a large retailer can only afford to have one). Next, you need to navigate the stronger-than-titanium plastic wrap. Finally, behold! NOT! You are thwarted by the edge stickers so thin, they have chemically bonded with the case. You finally manage to pick a corner up, only to have it tear into a 2mm piece that sticks to the tip of your finger. You keep digging at the sticker, further scratching the case (beyond the diagonal scratch across the front of the case from trying to remove the cellophane). Finally, you get about an inch separated and, after 30 minutes, decide to try to force the case open in hopes that the sticker will split along the case seam, just like when you try to remove masking tape from a roll, but all you get is a thin jagged strip, but alas, you crack the case instead. Only after you are deemed worthy, are you able to extract the pressed round plastic disc, hopefully unscathed (both the disc and yourself). And you get that torment for a mere $15.

Compare this to the console game industry. Their products have a much shorter shelf life compared to music and movies, cost 3-5 times more to the consumer, but have much easier access. OK, many games are proudly (or more times than not, haphazardly thrown) behind a finger and nose print decorated glass wall. Once you are able to find someone to help (after asking about a dozen people, and only after the security cameras catch you trying to jimmy the lock), and they call in Bob from the night crew to come in and drop off the only key, the only thing separating you from your purchased entertainment is a thin layer of plastic. A quick fingernail run along the fingerhold and the plastic seems to mysteriously disintegrate (or more likely, leap off the game case to the nearest hand/arm/flat surface in static induced vengeance). Total extraction time: about 10 seconds. I guess game companies cannot justify making you wait any longer to play the game since by the time you load it in your console, 50 additional copycat games have been released, and your game has now been replaced with a version 2 which fixes the horrible gameplay and graphics from the version you just purchased.

*SIGH* Digital downloads are where the future is at. If only the stodgy greedy industry your listen to consumers.