They have Edu. You can install your game from the disk straight to the HDD. You still need to have the disk in the drive tray, but you can use that feature if you wish. Also id suggested that you install all 3 disks of Rage to your HDD so you wouldn't
have to switch between all the disks, and for a boost in performance.
As for your second point, I think its a ways off before game devs make the switch to digital download only. They do that somewhat now with games on demand, but it will definitely be a while before it becomes mainstream. And typically the digital download
version is usually more expensive right now than actually buying the game disk, so until they adjust that some, it won't go mainstream. Only company that seems to have gotten some good traction on digital only has been Valve's Steam.