Microsoft has recently confirmed that, just like Sony's PlayStation 4, the Xbox One will have the capability to play games after they've downloaded a certain number.
According to Polygon, the Xbox One was already revealed to be able to play games as they're installing. However, it was never stated whether or not this would include Xbox One games that were being downloaded.
Considering that Microsoft's original approach with the Xbox One and its online capabilities were to leave behind discs, steps like this are exactly what the company needs to take in order to wean console users off physical media.
While I do entirely agree to you, I know a lot of people who play 90% of their games through Steam. When you reach that point, you really could get by without physical media... For me, I have a collection of hundreds of games dating back to the mid 80's and I will almost always opt for physical copies if given the choice.
I also ask you... Before you - not you personally, nevilence - take the stance of "No physical media, no platform"... Not only should you consider how much you use Steam or similar services (heh) for gaming, but also, what are you going to do ten years from now when physical media is not the primary way in which games are purchased and played? This is the future, and likely the not-too distant figure. Get ready.
Back in 2005 when Guild Wars launched the download as you go saved my butt because I still had dial up at that time and I thought that was one of the coolest features ever.
1. eliminating physical media will have an enormous impact on the US economy. distributors make their bread and butter at the ware house floor where physical media is created in mass quantities . remove physical media and these manufacturing plants (at least the ones still running in the US) will be shut down over night. That's thousands of jobs gone in the blink of an eye.
2. Destroy physical media and you can kiss mom and pop used game dealers good bye as far as current gen tech is concerned and yesterday's generations will not sustain the vast quantity of these shops we have today. yet again the job market narrows even further.
3. the lack of money flowing into said phsycial media outlets will create a "money vaccum" in the US economy. where before countless gamers were throwing money into the economy via used games, they no longer will be. The idea being that with no used games , there will be less game purchases all together. this also has the double effect , of leaving many developers out in the cold as gamers hold their cash for bigger title buys.
Bottom line .
I see a bleak future for gaming and as the cost of gaming continues to sore , with no physical media I could even see a industry crash occuring again like it did in 1983. hardcore gaming will slip back into the realm of the geek. while main stream gaming focuses on casual indie games that don't cost an arm and a leg for an hour of fun.