Yes, the original Xbox had DLC. And PC players have been downloading games (legally or otherwise, ahem) for years. However, it’s Xbox Live and PSN that made the process of downloading add-ons, and even AAA games, the norm. Steam does it better now, thanks to more sensible pricing and a wider variety of games, but Xbox 360 and PS3 have done a great job pushing consoles firmly into the digital future. Or present. Whatever.
While many are reluctant to give up physical media (you simply can’t recreate that new game smell digitally) entirely, there’s no doubt that digital is an essential part of the modern games industry. Along with iOS and Steam, digital distribution on closed console networks has allowed indie studios to flourish, providing them with a platform to sell their games to a huge audience of players that ‘just fancy something a little different for a few days’. Now then, if Sony and Microsoft can sort out their pricing, we’ll be golden.