Ubisoft announced yesterday that they will no longer be shipping physical manuals with PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Wii games are not included in this change. Instead of paper manuals, a digital manual will be included in the game. The first title to start the new green initiative will be Shaun White Skateboarding, which comes out this fall.
Not only are they eliminating manuals, but changing the packaging for future PC releases. The first will be Splinter Cell Conviction on April 30th. The new cases, called “ecoTech” DVD cases, are made of 100% recycled polypropylene. For whatever reason, this change is not yet coming to console games.
These changes are expected to save a lot of trees and energy. Ubisoft states printing one ton of their manuals uses two tons of wood from 13 trees and uses enough energy to heat a home for a whole year.
“Ubisoft is often recognized for making great games, but it’s a special privilege to be the industry leader at saving trees,” said Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America. “Eco-friendly initiatives are important to the global community and introducing in-game digital manuals on Xbox 360 and PS3 is just the latest example of Ubisoft’s ongoing commitment to being a more environmentally conscious company.”
In an effort to “go green” (aka make more money), physical manuals will cease to exist. It was only a matter of time before this happened. Manuals haven’t been worth the paper they’re printed on this entire generation. Sometimes game manuals will only have about five pages, barely telling you anything that’s important.
Back in the day, manuals used to be an integral part of the gaming experience. They would have background on the story, characters, and even come with a mini strategy guide. Some were hilarious to read. Who could forget a manual for a game like Chester Cheetah: Too Cool to Fool ?
This is just one more step towards full digital distribution. If they include a detailed manual in game, it would helpful. Being able to pop open the manual at any point is a step in the right direction. If it’s more smoothly integrated than the PS1 Classics manuals for example, that would be a great addition. Hopefully this doesn’t lead to longer in game tutorials.
Collectors probably are upset about this move, but it’s just a sign of where the industry is headed.
[photo by Ubisoft]