Yeah, what Ironman said. Fast-digesting protein is great for post-workout eating, when your muscles need it. It's good for when you need to eat with a time limit for performance - I prefer fast-digesting foods for my post-weigh-in pre-fight food when I compete.
And without protein shakes I have no idea how I'd get in all the calories my body is burning without turning to sugar...there is only so much chicken, fish, beef, pork, and eggs I can eat in a day. Post-workout, I'm going to need to rehydrate in a bad way - I work out and then I train MMA right after - so a gigantic blender load of whey protein and milk and water with a banana in it is much easier than drinking loads of water and eating a meal.
If you can get all the protein you need without protein powder, you don't "need" it. But it's a very useful tool, too useful to toss aside for many of us.
Hmm...I guess I see. I don't seem to need as much protein as others. And most people would abhor me for doing this, but if I do need extra protein I usually turn to more whole grains and nuts.