Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn
Go over to Blu Ray.com, it's quite a topic, part of the collector's item aspect. I throw them out.
As an OCD collector/completist, just ingore me dumpster diving at Art's
But seriously, as others have mentioned, several reasons:
1) Increased perceived value among the masses at large, per marketing speak "differentiation" from the crowd, like better trim levels in the automotive world.
2) A collectible addon, moreso when they put a 3D lenticular or other premium art/extras on the slipcover (metallized, extra fold out flap you can open without breaking shrinkwrap, etc)
- as titles go OOP, some may increase in value, similar to vinyl/CD's on DIscogs
- in the very long run, I suspect when/if physical video media dies, good condition physical discs with all extras- Booklets, inserts, slipcover, etc, which may be rare as most people discard/lose/damage, etc) may show up on the Antiques Roadshows of the future. Think stamps, baseball cards, etc.
- keeps case from popping open and spilling contents, perhaps damaging disc(s) if dropped (I've had this happen a couple times)
- As someone mentioned above, theft deterrance (vs only shrinkwrap to break to get discs out, though if someone is suing a razorblade in either case? Or simply removes the slip?)
Steelbooks are just another collector's packaging, usually exclusive to a specific retailer to get you in the door/website. I like slipcovers for long term collectibility, though wouldn't turn down a Steelbook for same/less price(SB's usually +$5 premium at retail) or even better, free/gift/thrift- Just scored a pristine, complete Chappie Steelbook at Salvation Army last week for 50 cents!.
If you drop a Steelbook, it may dent/scratch and decrease collectors value, the point of getting it in the first place.
Whether any of these reasons are valid is up for debate.