If you are a frequent reader of industry news then you probably have heard talk of Sony and Microsoft's next generation consoles implementing features that will render used games obsolete. You might've even stumbled across an article about how this news resulted in GameStop's stock value plummeting and how they are closing more stores this year than they are opening. Maybe you think that is good news or bad news...or maybe you are indifferent to the whole discussion and don't really care what happens.

Just so you're clear where I stand, because what I'm about to say might imply a certain perspective that might not be how I actually feel - I shop at Game Stop. I like Game Stop. I don't want to see anything bad happen to them, certainly not financial struggles brought about by the industry giants implementing restrictions that prevent them from providing gamers the services that they do today. But even as I say that (or write it)...I can't help but think the transition is inevitable, and dare I say, a lot closer to becoming reality than what you might think. But I'm not here to talk about Game Stop or next generation consoles or even digital distribution and persistent online connections, at least not directly. I am going to talk about how patterns in the delivery mechanism used by other forms of media are a precursor of what is to come for the future of the video game console and the requirement for a persistent online connection.

I'm not really much of a music guy, but there are a few instances where I do listen to music - driving to and from work...and when I go jogging or running to name a few of the most common scenarios. But for the most part, music is not my thing. Some people love music and even have favorite radio stations. I remember when I lived in Missouri, if I ever got up around the St. Louis area, I could listen to KSHE 95 Real Rock Radio, the Sweet Meat. My friends raved about that station. I never really understood why. Some people just love their local radio stations. Nearly every car, new or old, in the United States comes equipped with a radio. Some are basic - a good ole AM/FM basic model. Some are more advanced - these new fangled satellite radios. Truth be told, I'm happier that one of my cars has a built in mini-stereo jack, and the other car has an external FM transmitter with a little mini-stereo jack.

Now why would anybody care about that...a mini-stereo jack capability?

I'll tell you why...that connector allows me (or us, if you're vehicle is so equipped) to connect my smart phone to the car, thereby giving me the ability to play media files on my phone and hear it over the car's speakers. With so many apps, like Pandora for example, I not only don't need the radio, I don't even want it. I'd much rather have a docking station or charging station in that space (which apparently some cars also have).

In essence, digital connectivity has all but replaced the need for a traditional radio; at least it has for me. With the power and robustness of my smart phone, I can listen to exceedingly more content than I can on my car's default media player (uh, the radio). Obviously there are quite a few people out there who still use their radio and love their radio, but it is being phased out, as more and more radio stations transition to streaming their content over the digital spectrum instead of just the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. (Don't worry though - radio will make a huge come back during the zombie apocalypse!)

Well, when you consider the changes that have occurred to radio, you can't help but notice how it has also affected television and the distribution of motion picture content. Sometimes I wonder why I even pay for cable access (actually I have satellite TV, but same concept). With the Internet I can watch all sorts of movies and TV programming streamed straight to my TV...or my phone...or my computer.

I find it humorously frustrating that I can't rent and stream new movies using my satellite and associated receiver...unless I hook the receiver up to my DSL router with an Ethernet cable, then I am able to. Why exactly do I need a satellite then? Why can't it all come via my Internet pipe? The truth is with the right hardware and/or software, it can. I could, relatively easily I might add, completely do away with any sort of subscriber based cable/satellite/receiver system and completely rely on my Internet connection to provide this service. Many people do this even today with Roku or Apple TV. It might not be as convenient or have the exact content...yet. The technology is there though, so it's not a matter of if but when.

Hmm, what else do we have. Phone...ah, yes the phone. Does anybody even have an old analog phone anymore? I mean, if you use DSL you might be required to keep the line active...but I doubt you actually use your landline phone anymore. Most people seem to have and use their cell phone, but there are some who desire a home phone and use services like Vonage which essentially connects your phone to the Internet. With a capability like this, you typically get unlimited calls including a long distance capability for a flat monthly rate.

We don't snail mail as much anymore, we email.

We fill prescriptions, order food, shop for anything and everything, AND look at funny cat videos...all from the comfort of our home. With desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones...we can also do it from the comfort of our car, our bed or even the porcelain throne.

 Heck, even our "game" consoles which don't require a persistent online connection just yet even though most of us typically are connected as soon as we power our little magic box on can be used to browse the Internet, watch Netflix movies, and update our Facebook status.

SO...that being said - with our music and our movies and our telephone service all transitioning to a digitally connected network AND with a majority of us already having our video game players connected to this same Internet...

Why would our video game box not meet the same fate?

The transition is inevitable and the question isn't "if" it will happen it is "if it will happen with the launch of the next Playstation and Xbox or later in the life cycle of these new consoles."

But it will happen.

And it will happen with the next generation of consoles that is knocking on our door now.