This World of E: A Look Back to Look Forward...

By William Stanek
December 8, 2009

So the Atari 2600 debuted in 1977 and remained the world's most popular video game system through 1984. I bought one around 1978 and happily shelled out pretty big bucks for the privilege of having popular arcade games available for play at home.

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In the arcades, games like Asteroids, Defender, Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders had already eaten so many of my quarters, I probably could have bought full-size consoles. In '79 some of my friends bought Intellivision. It had better graphics and some good games, but I remained a loyal fan of the Atari 2600 until I bought a Nintendo NES in 1985 and discovered a game called Super Mario Bros. Of course, I had to buy games like Super Mario Bros 64, Diddy Kong Racing, and Donkey Kong 64 when they were released on Nintendo 64. And on the story goes...

The way I figure it, I probably have about $5000 US invested in the Mario/Kong franchise alone--who knows maybe a lot more. Because in later years, many of these same games were recycled to Gameboy and Nintendo DS and/or made available in various editions and classics collections for PlayStation, PSP, etc. Of course, I bought the games in those formats too. There's just something about a classic arcade game that makes it irresistible to me. Maybe I'm broken in that way, but I doubt it's just me.

With music, it's been a similar story for me. I bought favorite albums on vinyl, cassette and even a few 8-tracks back in the day. Sometimes in all three formats as I loved the sound of music playing on vinyl but if I wanted to take that music with me, I had to get a cassette at the least. Then compact discs arrived and everyone knows a CD is better than a cassette or 8-track. Right?

So yeah, I bought favorite albums again on CD. But those were largely based on original recordings, so when the record companies started digitizing and enhancing their CDs, I bought those too. The way I figure it, I paid about $285 US for Foreigner 4 and about $350 US for The Wall.

With video, much the same thing. I bought favorite movies on VHS after seeing them at the theatre, only to later buy them on DVD. Now, the big question is will I buy those same movies again on Blu-Ray too? The answer: Probably--though if not soon, eventually.

Knowing this, what if you walked into a store today, found your favorite album, movie or book, went to the checkout stand and the salesperson asked you if you wanted to pay $300 for lifetime access to your purchase. Would you pay? Likely not--and you might even walk out of the store.

Now imagine a world where you purchased an album, a game, a movie, a book once and only once and know you'd have it on any number of devices forever. Would you jump at the chance to do so at bargain basement prices of $5.99 US to $9.99 US? You'd be a fool not to, and it's what this world of e delivers right now today.

The average price of an ebook is $9.99 US after all. Typically, your purchase allows you to use an ebook on up to six devices simultaneously (and this is the case currently, for the reader devices and ebook stores of Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony). For the average buyer, this allows a person to read an ebook on a computer, on a reader device and a smart phone too. That's pretty cool.

If a person does this, he or she has three authorized devices associated with his or her account and it makes that single ebook purchase a great value. The purchase becomes an even bigger value because even with three authorized devices, the buyer still is able to authorize his or her work computer, a laptop and a secondary reader to have the ebook, bringing the total up to six authorized devices. Now that's, what I call a bargain.

Thanks for reading, time for me to get back to work! Hope you'll take a look at my new book Windows 7: The Definitive Guide. Also just released is my book Exchange Server 2010 Administrator's Pocket Consultant.

William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com


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