It’s now been confirmed that The Outer Worlds for Nintendo Switch is going to get a physical release. This is great, apart from the tiny little detail that this physical release is just a game case with a download code for the game inside. This is exactly what happened with the physical release of Overwatch for Nintendo Switch. It wasn’t okay then, and it’s certainly not okay now. This is yet another physical release of a game that is entirely pointless to anyone who isn’t a collector, and even then we have an issue with the planet being affected too.
Only For Collectors
As someone who collects certain types of games, I understand the appeal of a physical edition of The Outer Worlds for Nintendo Switch. Many people out there want to have a case for every single game they own, because they put them altogether in a shelf and have them on display. This is totally understandable, because the case is desired just as much as the game is. A collector doesn’t care too much if they don’t have a game card for The Outer Worlds on Nintendo Switch, but having a case will at least be something that they can add to their collection.
Straight In The Bin
For those who aren’t collectors, this game case is going straight in the bin. There’s no reason to hold onto a game case like this if you don’t need to keep it. This is a dreadful waste of resources if the case goes in the bin, and the sad reality is that most of them will end up in the bin. A lot of recycling centres don’t have the machinery that allows them to recycle game cases, which means that if someone doesn’t take the time to find somewhere that will recycle the case locally, it’ll get binned anyway. Once again, this is a huge waste, and a massive oversight on Nintendo’s part. At this point they’re just approving physical releases blindly.
Some Harm Is Already Done
Here’s the worst part about this news. Making these game cases isn’t clean, it creates fumes that harm the planet. Those fumes are already out there now, and they needn’t have been if Nintendo had stopped this at the point of concept. Companies like Limited Run Games produce short runs of physical games that always sell out. While they still create some toxic fumes, at least there’s a finite amount of the product, making it instantly more valuable that this pointless game case will be.
Change Is Needed
With a new console generation on the horizon, something needs to be done right now to stop this sort of thing happening again. The planet needs us to make drastic changes, like swapping all plastic game cases for widely recyclable ones, so that the long-term effects will make us a more carbon-neutral industry. If no changes are made, at some point these cases will either be banned by various governments, or an irreversible environmental change, like the Australian bushfires, will occur.
Sometimes we write about sustainability in games. This is an important subject, and you can read more about the companies working to make the industry more environmentally friendly, as well as those doing the exact opposite, here. Let me know what you think about The Outer Worlds’ pointless Nintendo Switch physical release in the comments.