For a brief stint after moving to the larger city area I now live close to, I took a job working at a local video game retailer.
When I started there was two shelves for PC games, and one shelf for used PC games. Steadily over the year I worked there I saw the space reserved for PC games shrink; and now when you visit a store, there's barely ANY space reserved for PC games.
I used to think this was a bad thing, because it indicated the slow demise of PC gaming. What I didn't realize back then that digital distribution was just starting to offer PC games, and it was becoming fairly popular. Which probably coincided with the decline of shelf space in local retailers. I believe another contributing factor is the availability of high speed internet. You may laugh, but my parents only recently had high speed introduced to their neck of the woods (satellite was available previously, but crazy expensive).
I recently signed up for a Steam account, and have been pretty happy with the level of services offered by the application - a nice friends list with chat messenger, community pages, and a library of your purchased games that are available for download when ever you want them (if you haven't already downloaded them). I'll never misplace software, or a booklet with a game activation code on it, because it's available digitally.
And what's even better is they run specials and have some pretty good games for REALLY cheap.
Now, I'm not some Steam fanboi, I'm just setting the stage for the experience I received last night upon my trip to the local game store.
I went to cancel my two preorders for Cataclysm, and move the money I had placed as a down payment onto a gift card to use as a Christmas gift. And I couldn't believe the attitude of the clerks. I walk in and explain what I'd like to do and the guy chides "Oh, excellent." Not in that Mr. Burns from the Simpsons way, and even in a genuine tone of voice - it was that I'm-working-a-job-I-hate-and-being-a-complete-asshole-to-everybody voice.
So, I'm already a little miffed, and the clerk launches into a tirade about how I should throw down some money on the preorder of DragonAge II he saw me looking at. I tell him no thanks, I just want the money on the gift card, and the second clerk pipes up and again applies preassure trying to get me to preorder the game.
Look people, I walked in and clearly explained exactly what I wanted. I didn't ask to be hasseled about any preorders, and I certinaly didn't ask to join your discount card program (I worked there.. I know it's a scam).
I was just all around irritated when I left. And I don't think I'll be going back.
I got home and hopped on my computer, loaded up the Blizzard website and click click click - Presto! Two accounts upgraded to Cataclysm with only the need to maybe download a patch on the day of release. No trouble at all.
I'm going to be doing all of my gaming purchases digitally from now on, tyvm.