Been thinking this past week or so, do we still need optical drives?
Mine's barely even used and causes more hassle than it's worth when I take my PC to LAN's thanks to the screw free fixings on my case not working to well with it.
I think I've used it to install a few games recently but it turns out they were Steam games so I could have just input the code into Steam and downloaded it. Speaking of Steam, it's seemed to become my main reason for keeping PC gaming - games tied to an account I can use on any PC, no discs to move about etc - I'm hooked.
DVD's are watched on the TV played via a 360 and I've not been particularly bothered to rip them to my PC anymore.
Even some OS's (linux) can be installed via USB these days.
I'm considering looking for a caddy to put my current drive in and use it as an external drive (or with £20 external slimline DVD drives on eBuyer), I might even considering getting of those and removing optical media completely from my main rig and rely on an external for the rare occasions it is needed.