Nothing is more frustrating to the average gamer than difficult to open packaging, and just the mention of plastic blister packaging is enough to make even the most seasoned consumer shudder. One could be forgiven for thinking at some points during the past decade that consumers of the world would be doomed to suffer forever from cut fingers and strained shoulders at the hands of ubiquitous terrible packaging.
The term "Wrap-Rage" has been used to describe the rage consumers feel at impossible to open packaging, and this drew the attention of the media. While this phenomenon has been noted in relation to all consumer good manufacturers, it is from the electronic industry that some progress has been made as consumer electronic and game companies have realized the importance of good packaging.
The evolution of Xbox controller packaging is a great example of this realization, so let's take a look.
Xbox 360 Controller (2005)
This is the packaging for Xbox 360 Controller in 2005. It was nigh-impossible to open even with scissors or a knife, and was a significant source of stress for me 9 years ago. It should be noted that this does not provide a good consumer experience, and was some of the most frustrating packaging in my memory. The packaging is clearly very utilitarian in the sense that it does not provide any sort of premium experience to the consumer and in many cases provided a negative experience.
Xbox 360 Controller (2011)
This is the Xbox 360 Controller packaging in 2011. This packaging is much improved, allowing the consumer to open it up without scissors and knives. This trend also continued with the introduction of the "Chrome" series controller which also featured distinctive packaging.
Xbox One Controller (2013)
This is the Xbox One controller packaging in 2013. It is simple, clean and elegant, enhancing the experience of the consumer.
This packaging shows the recent trend of companies attempting to create a premium "unboxing" experience for their customers, a trend started by Apple that has become more common as the popularity of "unboxing" videos has soared. Easy to open packaging which clearly showcases the item has become even more important as companies attempt to provide consumers with an excellent experience.
It should also be noted that the Xbox One controller packaging is stylistically consistent with the Xbox One console packaging, which has also been clearly designed to provide a great experience for customers. Microsoft is not the only company that has been doing this and there are many others that have seized the branding opportunity that good packaging and unboxings can create.
The increasing use of consumer friendly packaging has is a positive trend that has appeared in the game industry. The evolution of the Xbox controller packaging perfectly exemplifies a gaming company improving the quality of their packaging, and using it to enhance the consumer experience. It's been nice to see companies attempting to go the extra mile to provide consumers with a memorable experience, and hopefully this trend will continue into the future.
If you have examples of particularly good or bad packaging, please share with everyone!