After what I guess was a trial run with Football Manager last year, Sega Europe has made the decision to make all the boxes for its PC releases cardboard. They’ll be made from 100% recycled materials, and will in turn be 100% recyclable themselves.
Here’s the announcement, with the first game being a compendium re-release of Total War: Rome II:
The special boxes Sega will be using are more expensive than regular DVD cases, but it’s estimated that cost will be offset in transportation, as the cardboard ones are smaller and lighter.
While it’s a start, it’s also a fact that in 2020 the market for physical PC games has all but dried up, so hopefully successes in this end of the market can convince Sega—and other publishers—to maybe get together and see if trials can be done on delivering console games in these more environmentally-sound cases.
Companies like Nintendo have innovated here in the past, by cutting down on the amount of plastic used in their cases, but the fact remains that in most parts of the world you can’t recycle game cases via kerbside collection, so shifting to cardboard would be a big improvement in this regard.
There’d also be a nice sense of symmetry to all PC publishers shifting to cardboard boxes in the twilight of the physical market, since that’s how they were packaged for so long back in the platform’s earlier days.