Changing Video Game Cases Go For The Green

Xbox 360 owners who have recently invested in holiday season hits like Modern Warfare 2, Assassin's Creed II, Brutal Legend or Left 4 Dead 2 may have noticed a change in their game cases. Meet the Eco-box, gamer.

The lighter, thinner cases from manufacturer Viva Group are becoming the new Xbox 360 game case standard. And don't be surprised to see Nintendo and Sony follow suit, as game cases use less material, reduce their shipping weight and conserve resources.

The move is in part driven by a "Packaging Scorecard" issued by mega-retailer Walmart, an initiative it announced three years ago. The goal, according to the company, was to reduce packaging by 5 percent by 2013, with much of that responsibility shouldered by Walmart's suppliers.

New packaging plans from Microsoft and Nintendo already exceed requirements, dropping the weight of video game cases by 20 percent or more.

Kyle Sheppard, manager of business development at Viva Group, tells IGN that the new cases offer "marginal" cost savings to console manufacturers, with reduction in materials and carbon dioxide emissions the draw.

Nintendo of America told Kotaku that it is transitioning to "a new weight-reduced, recyclable case for all Wii software packaging, effective immediately." Wii games should be shipping with lighter packaging this quarter, with conversion to new game cases expected by early 2010.

"Nintendo's new software cases weigh just 48.9 grams, down from 66.2 grams," a spokesperson said. "That's a reduction of more than 25 percent. The new cases are 100 percent recyclable, and the lighter cases result in a 'greener' product, as they use fewer resources to produce and recycle."

That transition applies to Nintendo's first-party products currently, with third-party publishers expected to follow suit.

"We encourage it, and are trying to make it as easy as possible for them to make the switch," Nintendo reps said. "So far, there are two manufactures that Nintendo has already authorised to make the new lightweight software cases for our licensees. And if licensees come to us with a new manufacturer that they want to use, we will work with them on that process as well."

Microsoft did not offer comment on its decision to switch to the new cases, but pointed out that it has regularly reduced the amount of material used in its game packaging.

Sony Computer Entertainment America reps would not confirm that it would be adopting the Viva Group's new case design, which already has a Blu-ray disc-sized variant.

"We're always looking at streamlining our solutions and evaluating our product case designs to be environmentally friendly, but we have nothing to announce regarding redesigning our cases at this point in time," a Sony spokesperson said.

While the change may satisfy big box retailers like Walmart and improve the bottom line and 'green' scores of video game publishers, it hasn't been met with much enthusiasm on video game forums and web sites. But Nintendo of America says its decision to make the change was largely environmentally driven.

"Nintendo is always looking to make our products more ecologically friendly, and had taken action already in other areas such as making our peripheral accessory packaging using corrugated cardboard instead of plastic 'clamshells,'" Nintendo said. "We are always looking for ways to improve our manufacturing process, and as technology evolves and new techniques and practices become available, then we research the possibilities and make a move if it makes sense. The time is right now for NOA to make the move to lighter software cases."


    i do not like the look of the holes behind the Disc your just asking for shit to get in there and scratch the shit out of it

    oh great just what we need, even flimsier xbox 360 cases! xbox 360 cases were the flimsiest this generation and now they are worse!

    When my copy of MW2 arrived in this flimsy case, I thought I might have gotten a knock-off copy. These cases fell very flimsy and shitty. This is a very poor design decision IMO.

    Yep, do not want...

    Always thought that a case was to protect the contents... would good is a case that gets thinner and with sections cut out? but there is no indiction that the cases are stronger? just prone to more damage...

    generally don't trade my games in and somewhat of a collector/would like everything to remain the same... so something like the changing of the PS3 spine boxart was annoying to me, New Super Mario being in a red case, etc... :p different sized cases (in height) would be something that would annoy also...

    but seriously, why, just why... couldn't they make the the boxes smaller? they could go as far as CD sized again, like the PSone/Dreamcast sized cases...

    I'm not against companies going 'green', but there should be abit of logic stopping stupid ideas like this...

    it this makes making games cheaper, why are they still charging us the same price for less?

      a case is worth probably less than a dollar... the consumer will never see any of these savings...

    Case designs are over sized flimsy pieces of shit.

    Make the f*kers smaller...companies never put a decent manual/book in them anymore so why keep them so large.

    If I'm paying 80bucks a game, I want my case to poison the environment.

      Too right.

    why do people still keep their games in the cases? I keep all of my games in folders, it's much easier to carry them around, and they don't get scratched.

    You can buy a CD folder for like $5 or less

      It's the aesthetics of having all your game cases lined up on a shelf.

        Plus, if you happen to drop your folder for some reason, you could damage a large number of your games. Folders may protect cds/dvds from some damage, but a sharp blow can screw your entire game collection over. And heaven forbid if one of your drunk buddies steps on it in a sh*tfaced stupor...

      great it'll be easier for someone to steal all your games if you happen to drop them, leave them in your are or any other scenarios where you get screwed over and lose all your games

    I agree. Hate them. I keep thinkin that stuff will get behind the wraparound label on the case and scratch the hell out of my game through the holes in the 360 cases. I don't have $180 for a new AC2, L4D2, and DA:O

    "We at walmart are dedicated to the environment- now go and do all the work for us and make us look good"

    why not just reduce the amount of packaging my Microsoft points come in. Seriously do i need all that damn clamshell BS packaging that takes 5 mins to open for only little card. Just sell the card by itself or on a receipt like a pre pay recharge for my phone. (yes I know i can just buy the points with a credit card online. But I'm a few years too young for one)

    My favourite game boxes were the DVD-size jewel cases used for the Sega Saturn. They just felt really nice, although were probably awful for the environment.

    Still, 90's PC big box > jewel case > DVD case IMO.

      I think jewel cases are too prone to cracking, and seem to get very brittle after a few years, which is no good for me, because like 'oggob', I collect games, rather than trade em in.

    why not just do what PS3 does and have smaller, yet sturdy, cases... the discs are small...

    100% recyclable but I keep my games... I suppose if they release the Atari 2600 version of ET on a disc that's great news.

    My original X-Box is semi-busted and I still have all the games for it. And yes half of them don't work on the 360.

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