Product Death: The Death of Consumer Goods in Today’s Society

This morning in a text conversation with my friends, the trailer for EA Sports Madden 20 video game was shared with me.

A group of me and three of my friends are consistent players of the game as we have purchased it every year for the past 7 years. While the release of the new game is quite exciting for us it does mark the end of the previous year’s edition which is sometimes bittersweet however in the context of some of the conversations we have had in class, struck a different nerve with me. In thinking about the coming of this year’s new game I hearkened back to our class discussion on the literal death of technology and product lifespans.

The life span of my video games are relatively unique due to the nature of the types that I play. I prefer sports games or shooters such as Call of Duty but they all fall under the brand of a large franchise. As such each year there is always a new edition and thus every game that I buy has an intended lifespan of a single year. This means that I devote about $180 each year across three games and this is a cycle I am very locked into. At first glance, this is an extremely startling statistic and I am not pleased with it, but this is the capitalistic society under which we live with regards to objects especially in the technology field.

The digital and technological age of today has rendered the lifespan of products down to a few years at best. Gone are the days where you did not always have to be worried about the latest and greatest technology but instead could hold onto a computer for 6-7 years with no issue. In today’s world we expect new updates constantly and with these upgrades comes the denigration of our products as they get close and close to becoming obsolete. The rapid evolution of technology coupled with our capitalistic natures has rendered our products to mere years rather than substantial investments that last for lifetimes.

We are in the age of product death where most of our commercially purchased goods have some semblance of technology within them and thus have dramatically shortened life cycles. Sooner or later we will reach the points where product relevance and importance could last mere months or weeks. For the emotional attachment often equated to technological purchases, it is concerning to think that humans will soon be forced to confront death more frequently on the scale of our physical property. I worry that this idea of shortened relevance in terms of products will start to take shape in other areas of our lives such as the relevance of people or relationships and that is just a terrifying notion.