Plastic Video Game Packaging Might Be Worth Abandoning

author img
BY February 1, 2020

There’s a new debate online that I think might be worth having. I’ll be honest, I’m sort of torn, so I figured it might be worth it to go over what’s happening. News that SEGA Europe is abandoning plastic video game packaging got everyone talking. Overall, the change is very limited. The move to recyclable cardboard packaging is only going to apply to PC games. But, it got me thinking, should we be considering the plastic toll video game packaging takes? The idea is, at the very least, worth entertaining. 

How Harmful is Plastic Video Game Packaging?

plastic video game cases Image Credit: University of Sydney (AU)

The change at SEGA Europe came from the team at Sports Interactive. Sports Interactive makes the highly popular Football Manager series, one of Europe’s top selling PC titles. According to their research, each plastic video game packaging uses 55 g (1.9 oz) of plastic.  The move isn’t just a PR stunt; in fact, SEGA Europe is “hoping to inspire others to follow their lead,” according to their announcement. 

I think a lot of people might scoff at the idea of abandoning plastic video game packaging. For the most part, a lot of people are behind skipping plastic water bottles when possible. For reference, a plastic water bottle only uses around 11g of plastic particles. That means, roughly, 5 plastic water bottles are the equivalent to a video games case.  Still, there are some things to keep in mind about the move. 

The Actual Threat of Plastic

There are some pretty gross facts about plastic water bottle worth mentioning before we move on. For example, 90% of the cost of bottled water is the bottle itself. That’s a ton of money going into the construction of something truly terrible for our environment. “Plastic bottles require up to 700 years to dissolve,” and “38 million plastic bottles go to landfills each year in America alone.” As SEGA Europe recognizes, the cost to produce cardboard is going to be more expensive. The company believes it’ll be about 20 pence a piece. To them, and hopefully to all of us, that change is worth it. 

Concerns for Video Game Collectors

plastic video game cases Image Credit: eBay

As of now, the change is only for PC game cases. Still, the argument exists that changing console game cases would even be more impactful. Overall, most PC gamers buy their games digitally. Console gamers still largely buy physical copies of games, especially if they’re into video games as investments. I collect games, and while I don’t really ever look to sell, the abandonment of plastic cases does mean some significant changes. 

Firstly, cardboard is a lot tougher to keep pristine. Not unlike comic collectors, concerns about bending, creasing, wrinkles, and other deforming blemishes increase with a move to paper-based boxing. Ask any Nintendo 64 collector, and they’ll tell you those cardboard boxes really make things tough to preserve as the decades pass. Secondly, cardboard boxes are going to take up a lot more space. It’s easy to store plastic game cases for their small size. While the cardboard boxes aren’t huge, they do take up a bit more space. 

Lastly, and probably most selfishly, a lot of collectors aren’t going to like the look of cardboard. This of course brings us to the heart of the debate. Is any of this worth arguing against a move that benefits the planet? Try telling that to corporations who don’t want to take on additional costs. 

Why a Debate About Plastic Video Game Packaging Is Fine to Have, But Ultimately Simple

plastic video game cases Image Credit: eBay

I think two major issues exist with the debate on plastic video game packaging. Firstly, companies are hesitant to make a positive change that costs them more money. We’ve seen time and time again that corporations worry about the bottom line before the planet. While it’s great for us as consumers to use metal straws and avoid plastic silverware, the real harm to the Earth isn’t us. Overall, companies need to do more as they are contributing to the majority of harmful emissions and waste. 

Secondly, video game collectors like myself have every right to have a preference. Overall, the wishes of someone planning the look of their gaming area don’t get superseded by environmental concerns. I think it’d take some getting used to for collectors if console games moved to cardboard. Still, how much can we value the discontent of video game collectors against a ton of plastic waste?

Is There a Chance that Plastic Video Game Packaging is Banned Entirely?

I don’t think plastic video game packaging is going anywhere anytime soon. In short, I don’t believe any ban will exist at all. Still, moves like the decision made by SEGA Europe should be celebrated. If we can’t make companies care about the environment, then we can certainly celebrate companies who practice sustainability on their own. It’s wonderful that many game companies agreed last year to reduce their environmental impact. Hopefully, the trend continues as the world reckons with the long lasting effects of plastic waste and carbon emissions.

Do you like hearing about the intersection of video games and current events in the world? Let us know if we should cover things like this more often! Thanks for choosing Comic Years for your news on gaming, comics, and pop culture.  


Leave a comment


New Xbox One X Incoming: E3 Preview

There are a lot of rumors circling Microsoft’s press conference at E3. For years, Microsoft has led the charge in innovation for gaming consoles. Microsoft always delivers some unexpected surprises.  The Xbox One X, the company’s flagship console, is possibly going to be a big part of that. Influence of the Xbox One X A […]

BY Taylor Bauer March 29, 2019
What is Xbox Game Pass? The Service Explained

Xbox Game Pass is a great deal for owners of the Microsoft console. To be fair, not everyone knows about the great subscription service. To make sure everyone knows what’s up for grabs in this one of a kind subscription, let’s talk about what is Xbox Game Pass and why every Microsoft fan should have […]

BY Taylor Bauer February 11, 2020
Xbox One Black Friday Deals 2019 – The Best Savings

It’s that time of year again! We’re going to be doing plenty of coverage on all the best Black Friday deals, so keep your eyes on Comic Years in the coming days! We’re going to kick things off with all things Xbox. If you find Xbox One Black Friday deals you think beat what we’ve […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 19, 2019
Revenge of the Sith Retro Review – The Game

As a child of the mid 90s, I grew up heavily impacted by the Star Wars prequels. I remember attending a birthday party to see The Phantom Menace, having no knowledge there were others released decades ago. I became obsessed, and after seeing The Clone Wars, I was all aboard the hype train for Revenge […]

BY Taylor Bauer February 18, 2020
Best Rebuilds for NBA 2K20 – MyLeague Tips

I’m a huge fan of NBA 2K20, but most of my time is spent in one area of the game. While some work to become dribble gods on MyPark, I stick to MyLeague. Solely, for the the experience of managing a team. Working to rebuild teams on MyLeague is the reason I average over 200 […]

BY Taylor Bauer February 17, 2020
E3 Veteran Geoff Keighley Skipping Conference in 2020

I think one thing I love about video game journalism is getting to talk games. On the best day, covering gaming news involves great reveals, exciting titles, and hopes for my favorite series. On the worst day, I can usually say the downers about gaming journalism involve the industry. Sometimes, profits and sponsors get in […]

BY Taylor Bauer February 17, 2020
Marvel’s Avengers Pre-Order Deals: Where to Get The Best Bonus

Pre-ordering games used to be a way to make sure you had a highly anticipated title as soon as possible. Now, pre-orders are a sort of incentive for extra content and goodies. A fun bonus is usually enough to get me to pre-order a game, and an upcoming Marvel video game fits that bill for […]

BY Taylor Bauer February 14, 2020


Who is Carnage in the Marvel Universe? – Origins and Powers

In Venom, a final scene shows Woody Harrelson in a hilariously on-the-nose red wig. That was our first look at Cletus Kasady, more well known to some as Carnage. With Spider-Man playing a vital role to the state of the MCU moving forward, we can assume Kasady is going to be a major villain to […]

BY Taylor Bauer February 19, 2020
Disney+ Reveals First Clip of Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars by Highlighting the Bad Batch

Star Wars fans may eagerly await the next story in the films or season 2 of The Mandalorian. However, the most anticipated new thing is something, well, old. After debuting the release date for Season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disney+ released the first preview clip highlighting the Bad Batch. The title of […]

BY Joshua M. Patton February 19, 2020
Ben Affleck Opens Up About Why He Stopped Being The Batman In New Interview

The Batman is dead, long live the Batman! This is how it is for fans of the caped crusader. Sure, Bruce Wayne may be ageless and eternal in the pages of DC Comics for 80 years, but mere mortals age. Michael Keaton is more like Bruce Wayne in the Batman Beyond series than the character […]

BY Joshua M. Patton February 19, 2020
Alas, Green Arrow and the Canaries Has Not Yet Been Picked Up By the CW, Producer Confirms

For fans of the Arrowverse, specifically those who are sad about the Arrow series finale, Twitter got exciting in the wee hours of the morning. A writer for another site, who did successfully predict Titans being renewed for season 3, dropped what seemed like a seedling of hope. He said that Green Arrow and the […]

BY Joshua M. Patton February 19, 2020