Human beings are a very peculiar species. We have a habit of sacrificing things for convenience only to reminisce about those same things years later. Case in point: How many of you reading this miss renting a movie from Blockbuster Video, buying the latest bestseller from Walden Books, playing Pac-Man in a now defunct corner video arcade, or purchasing the latest Peter Gabriel album from Tower Records? Every business I just listed disappeared from the retail landscape years ago. Yet interestingly enough just by scrolling through my social media feed I can see post after post of people complaining about how much they miss all of these favorite stores from yesteryear. It is quite clear that ecommerce, Amazon, and online subscription services are the new norm. I sincerely hope that I am dead and buried before being old enough to be able to scroll through my social media feed and see someone reminiscing about placing an online order through Amazon or streaming a movie on Netflix. Should something replace those two mega corporations, I cringe to be around to see it. It is no secret that we have sacrificed physical ownership of items for convenience. This is vastly changing the way products like movies, music, books, and video games are sold. Physical video games are one of the more popular up and coming collecting categories that are being phased out by digital downloads. Manufacturers have now realized that they can make more money simply by releasing their games in online digital only storefronts rather than producing a physical product. This allows the manufacturer to control all aspects of the distribution of the game in question and ensures that direct ownership is limited. We are already seeing this in action firsthand. Companies like Microsoft, Sony, and even Nintendo are starting to adopt an all-digital future with media-less video game systems being promoted and sold along with certain games no longer even getting a physical release altogether. Thanks to higher internet speeds and the falling price of hard disk space, companies are forcing consumers into accepting digital only versions of some of their most popular games. Incidentally, this is having an interesting side effect when it comes to the vintage video game market. Consumers are now becoming nostalgic for physical games from yesteryear. While this is currently good for the short term validity of vintage video games being seen as collectibles, I caution vintage video game collectors from celebrating this current trend. Within the next 10 years, younger video gamers won t have any direct interaction with physical video games, meaning every single game these younger generations buy will be in digital form only. As a result, this will have a massive effect on collectible vintage video games moving forward. These younger gamers will have no connection whatsoever to these relics of video games past that were produced before they were born. This trend has already taken place and the demographics of vintage video game collectors prove this. The average age of a vintage video game collector is estimated to be somewhere around the age range of 35-44 and grew up in the mid/late 1980s and early 1990s when video games were just making an impact with Nintendo and Sega duking it out as household names. Today, the home video game market is dominated by Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft. Sega gave up producing home video game hardware in the early 2000s and just focuses on game development now. Sony and Microsoft entered the market in the mid 1990s and early 2000s respectively, and have been a thorn in Nintendo s side ever since, with Sony delivering the most competitive products. Several years ago when digital only adoption of home video games just started, video game collectors and gamers alike rose up in protest. This actually caused certain manufacturers like Sony and Microsoft to avert course and continue to support physical game releases for the time being. Unfortunately, the pandemic helped change the market forever due to everyone being indoors and companies started to release more and more video games that required a patch or digital upload before being played. As a result, most video game collectors started to realize that just because companies are producing physical versions of their games, if the games still require a digital download or internet connection to be played, it is almost the same as being an all-digital product. Today, the same hesitation towards an all-digital future that was present in the market just five years ago, is no longer there. To put this in perspective, the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) just recently reported that 72 percent of all children aged 10 to 17 years of age are asking for video game related products for Christmas this year alone. Unfortunately, out of that 72 percent, less than 22 percent want physical game releases. Online subscription services to all-digital streaming services like Xbox Game Pass dominated the list, as did the consoles themselves. This is going to have a very big impact on the future of vintage video game collecting when these children grow up. Make no mistake, this trend will further erode demand for classic video games in physical form if the children of the future can just download all the popular titles with the click of a button. Never in my life have I been more scared for an all-digital future than I am right now. Perhaps blowing on those old Nintendo game cartridges of yesteryear to get them to work wasn t as bad as we all remember? Or how about attempting to find a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 at retail that was sold out everywhere. I m already missing those memories of my youth. Now excuse me while I go play The Legend of Zelda on my original Nintendo Entertainment System. I seem to be very nostalgic for a time that no longer exists, or maybe I am just getting old? Shawn Surmick has been an avid collector since the age of 12. He currently resides in his hometown of Boyertown, Pa., and is a passionate collector of antiques and collectibles. His articles focus on various topics affecting the marketplace.