Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch Game Cases Seem Like A “Waste Of Plastic”

If you own a physical Nintendo Switch game, you may have noticed how small the game card is – especially compared to the entire game case. Because of this, the folks at Kotaku have concluded that Switch game cases seem like a “waste of plastic.” Although they’re about the same size as PlayStation Portable game cases, Switch game cards are not as big as PSP UMD discs. Case in point, the image below illustrates just how much plastic surrounds the retail version of Super Bomberman R:



  1. Leave it to Kotaku to know nothing about the industry they pretend to be experts of. The cases are that size so that consumers A) don’t lose them and B) don’t underestimate the game because it comes in a tiny box.

    1. That should more so apply to the cartridge not the case. The case is that size so they stand out at stores. Still think 3DS game cards and cases were better.

    2. Considering how many geeks and nerds play video games and know that “size matters not”? But seriously, poor logic. You think that people underestimate a game because of the size of the box? wat. Technology has been consistently moving to smaller and smaller storage and hardware (aside from screens, which people want more of, naturally). Given that we’re not in the 90s anymore, much of our society and culture has gotten used to such sizes and are acclimated to it – if you’re saying that someone is gonna pass on a game because “it has a small box and that reflects the content of the game”, then you’re doing it from a position of condescension. Quite frankly, I’d say it’s almost offensive to imply that we’re so stupid as to think that a small box = bad/inferior game. This is a culture steeped in tech, where kids playing games don’t know what VHS means and can’t remember a time before the internet and texting on their phones was so highly accessible. Now if you think there’s some psychological factor ingrained in our minds (like how color affects our mood which is why most restaurants use warm colors since they instigate the feeling of hunger or excitement to us) that links a smaller box to some sort of perceived weakness in the product, then by all means show me the studies and I’ll happily eat my words.
      As far as your first point, everyone loses shit, and I’d wager that a lot of people might leave their cartridges next to the system or on top of the case for longer periods of time while playing the game, so the chance to lose it remains. Not to mention my first point about tech getting smaller, to which I’d say that our culture has, again, gotten used to smaller sizes. But Namie pretty much summed it up. It’s not like we’re talking about having a case the size of tic-tac box to hold the game, but the box as it is now is a complete waste of money and resources (though Nintendo still values their games digitally at the same price as a physical copy – because Nintendo is dumb in that regard – so the price of the game probably wouldn’t drop if they did reduce the size of the case, even though they’d be saving a shit ton of money).
      But clearly you know more about the industry than Kotaku.

    1. It leaves the room for possible bundled in Amiibo cards, download codes, and other special things. It’s not necessary for most games, but there are a lot of ways that they can use it.

        1. It’s not wishful thinking if they’ve used those areas for things like that in the past. Pokken Tournament came with the Shadow Mewtwo Amiibo Card. Hell, games back on the Wii had bonus content cards in the front sometimes.

        2. It should also be noted that Amiibo cards fit perfectly into the grips with just under 1 cm of card sticking out from the top and bottom of the clips. I literally just tested this with my Shadow Mewtwo card and my 1-2 Switch case.

          1. Eh. I think that’s stretching it a bit. I would think that many people simply would put them in a more protective sleeve/case, or on display somewhere, perhaps alongside where they have their amiibo figurines. If they are putting in the tabs exclusively for extra items like amiibo cards, though, I feel it’s still impractical. Those tabs have always been associated with the game insert/manual. If they wanted to start giving people the idea that they can put cards and stuff in the case and use the tabs, it might be wiser, and a better marketing move, to have perhaps a border or “area” printed on the inside of the game cover that highlighted it as a special area to use the tab for. But again, I don’t think Nintendo ever had that in mind – it’s just a carryover from the days when they did include game manuals, and the logical step would be to simply remove them.

            1. Binding of Isaac has a 20 page instruction manual this Friday for Switch version. PS4 have to wait till summer or fall; because it’s hard to port games to PS4.

            2. It’s not for people to put their cards in the case, it’s for Nintendo to be able to do it with promotional cards. You do realize that it costs them more money per case to put grips in only the cases for games with free amiibo cards, right? It’s a preparatory procedure that prevents games with amiibo cards from costing more just due to the case, or having negative profits. It’s a terrible business decision to remove them, and fans would probably be angrier if say Super Mario Odyssey came with a Hat amiibo card, but the game wound up being $70 instead of $60 due to increased production costs.

              1. If it’ll cost more money to make some cases with tabs and some cases without, and thus better to have tabs in all cases, then sure, I can go with that. I just don’t see Nintendo using the tabs as a reason to include bonus inserts for only a certain number of games, when it’ll cost them more money for any inserts for that game regardless – which is why manuals are disappearing in general.

  2. Some games will have stuff in the cases with the games I bet. Binding of Isaac have a booklet or something?

    Anyhow its so you can still read the titles on a shelf and find your games. I bet its the same if not less than a 3DS case as it’s thinner.

  3. It is a waste of space, there’s room for small booklets but nah lol I miss big booklets :(… Switch cases should of been 50% smaller

  4. As someone who buys vinyl and is used to fancy gatefolds, I’ll say presentation is more important than practicality here.

      1. ||On the dark side, you can sell your weapons without having to worry about pointless manuals…||

      1. Because we all wanna pay $2-300 for our games.
        Plus that’s a full size SD card.
        #Fail. But nice try.

        1. No, because we don’t need 1TB media for games, but the size of the “tiny” media can definitely hold 15 times more than enough for any game as proved.
          You shouldn’t have tried.

          1. Soooo, were you being sarcastic or serious? Given the current card sizes are being blamed for higher prices already, larger games could cost even more. It would be helpful if Nintendo released card spec data like they did on the 3DS.

            Larger carts cost more. Is it physically possible? of course! will Nintendo allow it and what will the cost be? Who knows.

            I think they are more likely to start pulling out whatever the switch can’t run, then evaluate the game size from there. If Switch keeps selling well, they will have to think of something!

            1. Read op, he was trying to make a big point of how insignificant Switch’s games are for being on “tiny cartridges” (was HE being serious? We will never know) and what I did was to show that the size means nothing….
              Now, for today’s games, 64 GB is enough. Every AAA game always need to download additional content already on first boot anyway, I would be surprised if next gen consoles don’t go full Steam and be download only.

              1. So let’s say carts support larger games just fine. As you correctly stated, most large games require large first-install patches. And then frequent, multi-gig updates. Anyone with a 128 gig SD card in their switch, purchasing physical versions should be fine for a while, but in 2016 alone, it still would have been a rough proposition with the likes of Battlefield 1, DOOM, BO3, GTA5, and many others.

                It will be interesting to see how these hurdles are jumped if switch continues its momentum and 3rd parties are compelled to port their games over.

  5. People are saying to shrink the cases to be more practical.
    I say these people couldn’t be more wrong, the cartridges should be made bigger so they’re cheaper to produce for their storage capacity. That or Nintendo should’ve gone with something like UMDs.
    Making the console a little bulkier to include a bigger cart slot or proprietary disc drive wouldn’t be a big deal to it’s form factor.

    1. If it was any bulkier people wouldn’t see the portability part, the system is a very nice size as it is. UMDs wouldn’t sove the problem, contrary to cartridge based storage, optical based storage DOES depend on the size of the disc (GameCub disks, for example, against regular DVDs) AND now flash memory has much more capacity than optical storage systems. I don’t see the reasoning for having a bigger cartdrige, for the price to be significantly lower, the cartdrige would need to be significantly bigger as well. Back to the original post I don’t mind about the cases, they got beautiful art work and it’s easy to read the titles for the games

  6. I just hope Nintendo doesn’t start putting those idiotic holes in the cases again, like they did with 3DS, Wii and Wii U game cases. I freaking HATE the cases with holes because they cause damage to the cover art (I have many games with damaged cover art due to these cases). Nintendo should just make dramatically smaller cases for Switch games, and not put holes.

  7. The point is they need to be seen properly in a store. Plus they are very thin. Standard DVD cases are even more a waste of plastic, they could have been both smaller and much thinner and still be seen.

  8. Yeah, that did seem a bit odd to me, how the actual game cartridge is like only a sixtieth of the case it comes in. This is like 3DO game boxes all over again with the media-to-container ratio, just much less bulkier.

  9. Kind of dumb. They obviously need a decent sized case to display in retail, but also it needs to be a bit bigger than the 3DS case in order to differentiate it from the 3DS ones. I think it’s a fine size, nothing to see here.

  10. A waste of plastic. A manmade material. Hahaha. While we’re at it, lets cut DVD cases in half because the disc doesn’t use all the space in there. Stop putting art on the cases too because that uses paper.

  11. uuhhhh… It’s digital media… Any amount of a case would be a waste of plastic, or any other material it’s made of for that matter. whats your point Kotaku? What about the amount of plastic used to house an NES game compared to a Famicom game? You guys getting into the material conservation game a little late, don’t you think? Anybody really give shit anyway? How’s that one seater auto mobile for single/non family folks coming along… yeah, thought so… Kotaku is a waste of space. Think of what interesting article could have occupied this internet space. Instead we get, “Kotaku’s opinion on shit nobody cares about.”

    Sorry… late night rant over. I’ll see everyone in the morning

  12. The case is fine, I flip the box art , though that makes organizing the library bit though.

  13. If they would just include some fucking manuals, it would not seem like such a fucking waste!
    That’s my issue, there is no manual, yet clearly it has tabs for holding one!

    1. I just want to go on record saying, not only do i second this, but i am fully pro physical copies. regardless of how much “waste”. cases and artwork belong in book cases and on shelves not landfills. its not waste when you don’t through your shit away. More manuals and art books! Stickers and posters! : ) :) :) :)

    1. Pile of feces with semen on top of it and Yoko Ono’s snatch exhibition are what I would call waste, not art.

  14. Excessive packaging problems extent to all industries, why single out Nintendo? Those cases get used thousands of time and are stored indefinitely (bar unsold stock).

    Why don’t you take a look at good packaging if you want a real story? What a load of nonsense.

  15. They should just put physical manuals in there, like what the 3DS and the Wii U used to do before strangely stopping at a certain point… It would make the boxes less… empty… and I miss those manuals…

    Why did Nintendo decided to stop making manuals for their games anyways? (I presume it’s for the online manuals or whatever, but what about people that don’t have access to internet? And a portable console can’t always be connected on the internet freely, to my knowledge, so what about those people that wants to know how the game works but can’t because they don’t have a manual or internet? I miss physical manuals…)

  16. Actually, the Switch Game Boxes aren’t that much of a waste of plastic as the boxes themselves are slimmer than say a Xbox One or PS4 Game Box. It’s mainly that size due to some developers such as the Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth + Devs wanting to have added stuff like an actual manual and reverse cover art.

    I have no issue with the boxes as they take up way less space on my shelves :)

  17. ||<i<Human males always have such filthy disgusting hands…||

    1. ||*Human males always have such filthy disgusting hands…||

  18. I mean, sure, it’s true, but that goes for all disc cases. They’re all bigger than they need to be, but that’s because you still want something that you can display on a shelf. Everything in disc-format could come in those small paper cases, like what Wii Sports came in, but you’d have to go through your whole collection to find what you’re looking for. At least Switch cases aren’t standard size, that’s enough for me.

  19. It kinda seems people are going to extreme lengths to find anything negative to complain about.
    We have had DVD cases for years with over 50% more plastic in them than required.
    Even Blu-ray disc cases have extra space in them.
    Very solid investigative journalism again.

  20. The cases need to be a certain size so people can find them in stores, fit all of the game information on the back, have proper artwork for the front…

  21. While I do agree that Switch game cases are FAR too big, I do like the overall look and difference from previous Nintendo games. I like the more narrow, clear cases. But there’s something that confuses me about them. Why do they have the two little clips on the right side of the case instead of the left (you know, those clips that manuals usually go in)?

  22. I agree with the point of the article. it’s somewhat wasteful. Nintendo could reduce their impact by shrinking the cases. Plastic is pretty bad stuff for the environment, and best to reduce it where possible.

  23. Gawker dismays over Nintendo making PSP-sized cases for small game cards while praising Leonardo Dicaprio for wasting tons of fossil fuels to fly in people so he can lecture them on the importance of environmentalism.
    It all rings a bit hollow.

  24. King Kalas X3 {Greatness Awaits at Sony PlayStation 4! Hopefully it will also await us at Nintendo Switch if Nintendo doesn't FUCK things up again!} says:

    Talk about pissing away resources. Yeah, yeah. It’s plastic & can be recycled but what about those people that actually collect shit & have no intention of EVER selling that plastic? Nothing is unlimited & even plastic can run out sooner or later if not enough of it is going back into the system as recycled plastic. Just because it will be later doesn’t make it any less of an issue because what about future generations? Just one of these cases of “As long as I’m satisfied, fuck what will happen to others down the road! It’s not like I’ll be around to suffer when it finally does become an issue some day, anyway!” And people are seriously comparing disc cases holding movies to this!? xD Talk about damage control…

  25. It seems all that extra space was likely intended to carry any kind of physical instruction booklets or other types of inserts, as the plastic tabs inside would suggest. Ironically, not a single game in my current switch library has used that space for absolutely anything. Even a box half the size of what’s currently being used would still be overkill, but arguably at least still large enough to not have to worry about misplacing or losing. If the game cases were as small as the carts, people (namely kids) would probably be losing their games left and right, and at 60 bucks a pop, would be pissing off a lot of parents. So, it’s kinda whatever. They sill take up nowhere near as much space as my disc based collection. I can live with it.

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