Buying the physical edition of a game is something I can identify with. It’s a tangible version of a product that you enjoy, and for many, myself included, collecting these physical editions brings a new level of enjoyment to the games we love. However, the physical edition of Overwatch on Nintendo Switch is pointless, because it doesn’t come with a physical copy of the game.
This news was brought to my attention by Video Games New York, a modern, retro, and indie game boutique that also offer repairs. The company provide games and other items for those who enjoy the wider appeal of collecting game paraphernalia. They posted on their Twitter account that they will not be stocking the Nintendo Switch version of Overwatch because it doesn’t come with a physical game card, just a download code for the game and three months of Nintendo Online.
NO STOCK: Overwatch Legendary Edition – Nintendo Switch
Physical case with no cartridge inside! I'm sorry if you disagree but we will not stock games released in this nature. NO CARTRIDGE = NO GAME#Blizzard #NintendoSwitch #NoOverwatch pic.twitter.com/HEuO6lrMSh
— Videogamesnewyork (@VideoGamesNYC) October 10, 2019
Upon reading this I immediately went to my go-to online store for the UK, GAME. As it turns out, this issue isn’t restricted to the US version of Overwatch for Nintendo Switch, it’s all physical copies of the game. What’s more, as far as I can tell, this version of the game doesn’t come with any additional collectors items, such as a poster or character cards. What consumers are purchasing, should they buy this product, is an empty Nintendo Switch case with the Overwatch insert, and a two pieces of paper that give them the game and a Nintendo Online subscription.
What’s the Point?
There are two aspects to this product that really bothered me. The first is the fact that it takes advantage of collectors like me who want to own a physical copy of the game. I used to purchase as many physical editions as I could for any game I’d buy, because I like holding the game. There’s something about a physical copy and owning it that feels completely different to downloading a copy of that same game. I personally find that I’m more likely to play a game if I own a physical copy, just because I can hold it and look at the case. With this product, Blizzard has taken advantage of consumers like me, and if they’ve pre-ordered without paying attention then they’ll be brutally disappointed when they get their copies tomorrow.
The second reason that this product really bothers me is the environment. At a time when the entire world is aware of, and actively fighting against, single-use plastics, why do Blizzard, and by extension Nintendo, think that it’s okay to release a product like this? I could understand, and even justify the need for a case if there was a game card inside to protect, but everything about this product could be emailed, saving the planet a lot of trouble in the process.
I wonder how many of these cases will end up in the bin once the game codes have been used?
The Planet Can’t Take This
You may not know this, but game cases are made from plastic that as of right now cannot be recycled by the majority of facilities. Having done a decent amount of research into my local recycling facility, I know that the technology required to recycle game cases isn’t available for most facilities around the world. As a result, these cases go directly into landfill, and take thousands of years to decompose.
There are more games launching every day, more than there ever have been before. While a number are digital-only, there are physical editions out there that offer collectors the chance to own a physical copy. However, this is the first time I’ve seen such blatant disregard for the environment in such a physical edition, and it’s made worse by the fact that two huge companies in the industry are behind it.
Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments.