That being said, I do remember saying this about hardware in an old episode of the RPGFan podcast. My first generation Sega Genesis had a 6 oz cup of cola spilt on it, and it still worked. I don't have it now, but if I did, I could plug it in and it would probably STILL work now. And we've all heard stories of people abusing the hell out of their old GameBoys and even Game Boy Advances- they take a lickin' and keep on tickin.' Accidentally spilling cola on some of my current hardware? Probably gonna get bricked.
You didn't get optical drives in consoles for awhile because optical drives used to be either really slow or really expensive, so I think that was why people stuck with cartridges for awhile, even though they were more expensive to make.
But in the long run, this brings up another good point -- part of the reason that old, cartridge based consoles are a lot harder to wear out is the lack of moving parts. Optical drives are fragile and kind of self-destructive.
But then like, more powerful hardware also means more heat, which is bad, and like you said, never technology's just a lot more sensitive to damage in general.
idk that sort of depresses me -- I /like/ my consoles and the fact that modern ones just are comparatively not nearly as durable or long lived, and are really hard to repair when they do break, makes me sad.
I don't like how disposable stuff is. This is why I've never gotten into smartphones.