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Football Manager 2020 opts for eco-friendly cardboard game cases

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Sega says it’ll save tons of plastic waste

Box cover of Football Manager 2019 for PC
The cover of 2018’s Football Manager 2019.
Sports Interactive/Sega

Football Manager is a popular PC-only game series, and most copies of popular PC games are distributed online these days. Still, Sports Interactive and Sega are switching to a paper-based form of packaging in order to cut down on plastic waste when Football Manager 2020 launches in November.

GamesIndustry.biz reported on the series’ new duds yesterday, with Sega quoted as saying the switch will save about 22 metric tons of plastic. If that sounds like a lot, it equals about 360,000 physical copies sold, at 55 grams of plastic per standard case, which is about right for a global best-seller like Football Manager.

The packaging itself is a 100 percent recycled cardboard sleeve, that itself is also recyclable. Yes, there still is shrink wrap, but that will be “fully recyclable low-density polyethylene.” The manual — and, yes, there still are video game instruction manuals! — will use water-based or vegetable-based ink on recycled paper.

“It still looks great. It’s still solid. The disc is still secure,” Miles Jacobson, of Sports Interactive, told GamesIndustry.biz. “But it has less environmental impact in many different ways. So we’d be stupid not to do it, and if anyone from other games or entertainment companies is reading this, you’d be stupid not to do it too.”

Video games publishers have cut back on packaging over the past decade, as online distribution and in-game tutorials have replaced copies on shelves and chonky instruction manuals. The console makers got the ball rolling in 2009 with “green” game cases that used less plastic by giving the disc panel the TIE Fighter wing look it has now. Ubisoft followed the next year by eliminating printed instruction manuals, and EA Sports followed in 2011 by getting rid of its booklets. With some exceptions (like Football Manager’s manuals) this is pretty much the norm today.