Back in late 2008, Sony famously declared “Death to the Clamshell” with a silly video and a partnership with Wal-Mart and Best Buy to try to eliminate the clamshell packaging. Amazon and Microsoft also jumped in at the time and agreed to help eliminate clamshells. While it is great for helping deter shoplifting, it is terrible at taking up too much shelf space and being a general pain-in-the-arse (not to mention dangerous) to open.
Unfortunately, almost three years later, most gaming accessories from Sony and Microsoft are still entombed in thick plastic with quadruple-sealed edges. While Sony has very few of its products now in cardboard packaging, the vast majority of items (controllers, Blu Ray remotes, Bluetooth headsets) still reside in some sort of plastic clamshell design.
Microsoft on the other hand seems to be making some headway, as a few items have shown up in cardboard recently. In the last couple of months, the Microsoft Xbox 360 Data Transfer cable and the 360 wired headsets have both shown up on shelves in cardboard. It is probably not a coincidence that these products are both under $20, as the clamshell does help deter shoplifting. The new cardboard packaging also sports the tweaked Xbox 360 colors and design that are showing up on the new 360 Slim packages. So the question remains, is this a small initiative for a few products, or the start of something big with Microsoft going away from the plastic clamshell? Check out the images below, which is the Transfer Cable in the clamshell, and the design of the new cardboard packaging (thanks Newegg for being on the ball with the latest image of the package.)
BTW, Nintendo is kicking both Sony and MS behinds in this initiative, but I do know that there are more Wii Remotes stolen in the store I frequent than any other gaming accessory because the cardboard is extremely easy to open and dispose of.
For those that are curious, here is that Sony video from 2008 that doesn’t look to have come to fruition yet…