Netflix subscribers will find their movie selection gutted tomorrow, as the service removes thousands of movies and TV shows due to the end of its contract with the premium cable movie network Starz, which, while providing only around 5% of the overall Netflix library, just happens to offer some of the more popular content.
The same thing happens to online game providers, from Netflix-like streaming services like OnLive, to more traditional digital distribution platforms like Xbox Live or Steam. With all this uncertainty one might be tempted to simply stick with physical media, but despite what its ardent defenders will tell you, the physical media sold by normal retail channels comes with a finite lifespan. Regardless of whether you stream, download, or buy optical discs, no game you purchase will last forever, and any streaming service will face periodic mass delistings like Netflix as contracts change every few years. Meaning downloadable game services may offer you the best chance of playing your favorite game thirty years from now.