This is a breaking point. It is an example of blatant anti-consumer behavior.
There is no reason to shell out $50 to get little more than paper in return. Discs need proper cases to protect them or there is no reason to buy them at all. This is not the era of the cartridges where they could survive in paper and cardboard. Discs require cases that protect them.
Why in hell is there is a giant ‘recycle’ logo that cannot be missed when you open up the case? I reject all forms of ‘greenwashing’ in games or in their cases.
This is a way bigger deal than people imagine. Consumers are very touchy about how the games are distributed. Just look at the honking failure called the PSP Go.
There is nothing advantageous to the consumer or to gaming in general from this move. When in doubt, everything usually happens for a money reason. The ‘save the Earth’ is just smokescreen to get away with shafting the consumer (and the companies are the beneficiaries as they generate more money from this).
George Carlin did an excellent job destroying the notion that ‘plastic’ is “bad”:
Warning: Language (but appropriate as many people will be spewing when reading the news about the cases)
It may very well be that retailers are pushing for this change in packaging. So what? Any company that went along with this, including Nintendo as well as Microsoft and Sony, have no desire to fight for the consumer experience despite what they say. Retailers need the video games more than the other way around. People will go to any store that stocks what they want in terms of video games (look at the Wii phenomenon as example. Also look at the 80s when the NES had to defy retailers and go around them in many ways to get to the consumer).
This blog will no longer be updated anymore. What’s the point? This is an anti-consumer act. Now Nintendo is part of the problem instead of the solution. But hey, Nintendo was never serious about the ‘revolution’ in the first place. The purpose of the Wii was not to truly disrupt the industry but to make the console the top dog. I’m convinced more than ever that Nintendo developers just want to make what they want to make. This is why we get abominations like trains in Zelda (because Anonuma reads a train book to his son at night), User Generated Content (because Nintendo has shown zero interest in generating content, original or otherwise), and motion control only being relegated to a few sports games and then ignored in every other part of Nintendo’s output. Nintendo developers are more interested in making games for themselves from Spirit Tracks, Mario Galaxy 2, to Metroid: Other M. Super Mario Brothers 5, an excellent game, should have come out ten years ago or so. Miyamoto and others at Nintendo knew people wanted a new 2d Mario. Instead of giving us one, Miyamoto kept trying to ram 3d Mario down our throats. Mario Galaxy was his last attempt and went so far as to make parts of Mario Galaxy even ‘2d’ to get Galaxy to sell like a 2d Mario game. Hilariously, Miyamoto was not heavily involved with NSMB DS and that game has outsold every Mario game in Japan except the first one.
The video game consumer is connected to gaming not through a chain or through a rope but through a thin string. This string can snap at any moment and the consumer ends up returning to the World of Disinterest.
People will wonder why a case change is a big deal in and of itself. It is a combination of many factors. But it is the case that it is dropping the proverbial straw onto the camel’s back. I won’t participate in anti-consumer industries.
I’ve left console gaming for fifteen years. I always had the feeling I would do so again.
UPDATE: When Nintendo decided to remove plastic bottoms for SNES cartridges and decided to cover them with that awful gold covering was my breaking point around fifteen years ago. I was told then, too, that “oh, the company has no choice, oh, they have to do things because of the law or prices or…” That is all BS. I’ve worked in law. They can get around this if they want. But that would require more work for them.