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Eco Champion *smirk* Ubisoft Eliminates Boxed In Paper Manuals In ALL Future Titles

BamelinBamelin Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Games and Technology
UBISOFT® LAUNCHES ENVIRONMENT-FRIENDLY PACKAGING FOR ITS PC, XBOX 360 AND PLAYSTATION®3 SYSTEM VIDEO GAMES


MONTRÉAL – April 19, 2010 – Today Ubisoft announced an environmental initiative to eliminate paper game manuals, replacing them with an in-game digital manual for all titles on PlayStation®3 (PS3™) system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. The program, the first initiative of its kind in the video game industry, launches worldwide with Shaun White Skateboarding this holiday 2010.

Ubisoft’s digital game manuals will provide multiple benefits for the player and the environment. Including the game manual directly in the game will offer the player easier and more intuitive access to game information, as well as allow Ubisoft to provide gamers with a more robust manual. Ubisoft internal data shows that producing one ton of paper used in Ubisoft’s game manuals consumes an average of two tons of wood from 13 trees, with a net energy of 28 million BTU’s (equivalent to average heating and energy for one home/year), greenhouse gases equivalent of over 6,000 lbs of CO2, and wastewater of almost 15,000 gallons.

“It’s pretty cool that Ubisoft is making a conscious effort to go green with its new video game packaging,” commented Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White. “I’m excited for my new skateboarding game to come out and stoked that it will be the very first Ubisoft game to be part of their green packaging initiatives.”



In addition to Ubisoft’s efforts to decrease paper usage in its game packaging, Ubisoft has partnered with Technimark, Inc. to release the entertainment industry’s most environmentally-responsible DVD case for all of its future PC titles in North America. The 100 percent-recycled polypropylene “ecoTech” DVD case will make its debut with Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction PC video game on April 27, 2010. Ubisoft has featured digital game manuals in its PC titles distributed in North America since March 2010.

“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.”

Man do I ever miss the days of huge boxes with 100 page manuals =(

I had to laugh though at their whole "we're going green" spin on it haha

Bamelin on
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Posts

  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Hay duders we're doing this because it's ECO-FRIENDLY and not because it's cost effective, honest!

    TheSonicRetard on
  • -SPI--SPI- Osaka, JapanRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Yes I'm sure this is purely a good hearted environmental move and the reduced production costs had nothing to do with their decision.

    -SPI- on
  • captainkcaptaink TexasRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    To be fair, it is both green and cost-cutting. Like the new dvd cases that have been coming out.

    Can't say I'm sad to see them go, today's manuals are sad, skinny things.

    captaink on
  • Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Man, what will I read on the crapper now?

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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  • WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So I thought something was wrong with my copy of SC: Conviction, and when I got home, I found out just what. Apparently we're not supposed to squeeze these new cases at all, as a gentle grip was all it took to break the paper thin connective spokes that the insides of the case have been replaced by. D:

    Wulf on
    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Goozex will now have to offer another option now.

    Honestly though I've never once read the manual since the SNES days. So if it cuts costs and is more green then more power to them.

    urahonky on
  • -SPI--SPI- Osaka, JapanRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Wulf wrote: »
    So I thought something was wrong with my copy of SC: Conviction, and when I got home, I found out just what. Apparently we're not supposed to squeeze these new cases at all, as a gentle grip was all it took to break the paper thin connective spokes that the insides of the case have been replaced by. D:
    Well I guess that's one way to drive people towards digital distribution. Make the physical product flimsy, cheap and horrible.

    -SPI- on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Buck Rogers - Countdown to Doomsday on the Sega Genesis had a BEAST of an instruction manual. It was longer than most of the goosebumps paperbacks. It was also fucking incredible - both the game and the manual.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Also, why is the wii excluded in this press release?

    EDIT: PSP and DS too.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • BamelinBamelin Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    In the old days (NES and SNES as well as older PC titles), reading through mammoth 100 page manuals was part of the overall experience.

    Especially with RPG's. I had to get the limited edition of Demon's Souls because of the manual that came with it. Really reminded me of the good ol' days.

    Bamelin on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Remember when Final Fantasy VII included a section from the Bradley strategy guide that covered the entire opening sequence?

    TheSonicRetard on
  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I don't really know if this is a step by Ubisoft to be more environmentally responsible, or if it's just good old fashioned corporate greed with a fresh coat of greenwash.

    I can almost understand it from a business standpoint. A few of us talked a little bit in the Goozex thread about manuals (some of us, myself included, think they're awesome and yearn for the bygone days of thick manuals filled with backstory, stats, art, and the like, and some of us said that they never read them and rely on ingame tutorials because they think that forcing the player to read a manual outside of the game is bad design) and the general consensus is that a lot of people just don't read them.

    So, as a business, you have something that A.) Costs money, and B.) very few people take advantage of, so I guess I can see where they're coming from.

    If I ever get into the games industry in any position of power I will decree that any game I am involved in will have the cost of manufacturing huge manuals built into it's budget, profit margins be damned.

    SmokeStacks on
  • grrarggrrarg Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    A 100 page manual was short once upon a time. Remember when simulations (back when there were more than one flight sim every couple of years) had 100 pages of charts and pictures of all the units in the game. And that was on top of a couple of hundred pages of controls, tutorials, and history.

    I hope the move to digital brings back long manuals with extras like that, but I doubt it will. Why spend money on manual writers when people are too ADD to read the skimpy 15 page manuals today?

    grrarg on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Working Design always had some of the best manuals. The shit they included with their games made you feel like you were getting more than just a game, you were getting a package full of goodies. It was like collectors editions before those existed.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • KlykaKlyka DO you have any SPARE BATTERIES?Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I think the last time I actually looked into a game manual because I didn't know something was 3 years or so ago.

    Klyka on
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  • GanluanGanluan Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Klyka wrote: »
    I think the last time I actually looked into a game manual because I didn't know something was 3 years or so ago.

    Same here. Plus, I get quite a few games from GameFly so it would be nice to have manuals integrated into a game instead of having to pull up a PDF online.

    Ganluan on
  • DrezDrez Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I don't like this. Who's going to kill the trees now? If we don't keep the tree population to a bare minimum, they will sprout intelligence and revolt against us for millennia of harvest.

    Drez on
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  • apotheosapotheos Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited April 2010
    I can't remember the last time a manual was in the slightest way useful.

    apotheos on


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  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    apotheos wrote: »
    I can't remember the last time a manual was in the slightest way useful.

    When the registration number was stuck on the back cover?

    chrono_traveller on
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  • KlykaKlyka DO you have any SPARE BATTERIES?Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Why do I need a manual anyway, when basically every game who wants to at least call itself "good" encompasses a tutorial that teaches you all the controls AND a button layout in the menu?

    Klyka on
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  • FireflashFireflash Montreal, QCRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    -SPI- wrote: »
    Yes I'm sure this is purely a good hearted environmental move and the reduced production costs had nothing to do with their decision.

    I'm certain that reduced production costs encouraged this move but the company has had a Green commitee for a few years now, finding ways to reduce it's ecological footprint.

    Fireflash on
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  • randombattlerandombattle Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I wonder how many jobs this will cut back on. At the very least this should cut costs abit and will save resources on things I never used.

    Honestly with online updates and stuff most manuals are out of date before you even see it.

    randombattle on
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  • CherrnCherrn Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Although there are plenty of reasons to rag on Ubisoft, I don't think this is one of them. I fucking love a good manual, but there hasn't actually been one for at least 10 years. All we get nowadays are colourless 5-page pamphlets that're mostly full of warranty shit.

    Good riddance.

    Cherrn on
    All creature will die and all the things will be broken. That's the law of samurai.
  • DasBootDasBoot Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    This isn't surprising at all. It's a bit disingenuous to try and pass this off as some kind of environmental move. I mean, if it costs X to print a manual and you sell three million copies of a title you've just saved yourself a decent quantity of cash, plus you can fire some writing/art staff.

    The last game I bought with a massive mega manual was for Jane's AH-64D Longbow which came with (if I remember correctly) a tabbed, wire-bound, 300+ page instruction tome. I was 11 at the time so needless to say I didn't do much flying.

    DasBoot on
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  • L Ron HowardL Ron Howard The duck MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Does that mean my 10,000 page novella called "The Baldur's Gate Instruction Manual" is now a collector's item?

    And any more, the manuals are a waste of paper. Five pages that are uselessly included are a complete waste. You get more information from the in-game help menu than you do those 5 pages, usually.

    L Ron Howard on
  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Buck Rogers - Countdown to Doomsday on the Sega Genesis had a BEAST of an instruction manual. It was longer than most of the goosebumps paperbacks. It was also fucking incredible - both the game and the manual.

    I don't know if this was different on the Genesis, but the PC manuals for Gold Box games were super thick partly because most of what would normally be in-game text was stripped out and stuck into the manual as "journal entries," along with a bunch of fake entries. It kind of sucks, as it makes Pool of Radiance and Wasteland (not a Gold Box game, but same deal) a lot less playable than they would be otherwise. Even though I have the manuals, it's just not fun to look up the text or have the whole game be "See Journal Entry 37."

    Orogogus on
  • grrarggrrarg Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Here's a good example of the devolution of game manuals. Sid Meier's Pirates! was released in 1987 for the Commodore 64 and Apple II. It had a long, detailed manual including drawings and descriptions of the major ship types, chronicles of famous pirate expeditions, a breakdown of the different campaign eras, a pirate history section written by a Ph.D, and a gazeteer of every town in the game.

    Pirates! has been remade several times for different platforms. Here are the manuals for the 1993 PC remake, the 2004 PC remake, and the 2005 Xbox port of that version. I cannot find a scanned .pdf version of the original 1987 manual, but I think it was even longer than the 1993 version.

    Pirates! Gold manual, 1993 PC remake of Sid Meier's Pirates!

    Sid Meier's Pirates manual, 2004 PC franchise reboot

    Sid Meier's Pirates manual 2005 Xbox port

    From 1993 to 2004, all of the history and background information was cut from the manual. From the 2004 PC version to the 2005 Xbox, the manual was 'streamlined' even further with just the basics to play the game.

    grrarg on
  • OlivawOlivaw good name, isn't it? the foot of mt fujiRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Manuals suck now, so who cares

    I do miss when games had awesome manuals, but those days are long gone, my friends

    Except in like, the Civilization games, but those need huge manuals

    Olivaw on
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  • Kris_xKKris_xK Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Manuals are pretty terrible these days.

    I miss the old Warcraft/Diablo manuals. So much awesome Blizz art.

    Kris_xK on
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  • WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Kris_xK wrote: »
    Manuals are pretty terrible these days.

    I miss the old Warcraft/Diablo manuals. So much awesome Blizz art.

    Myth: The Fallen Lords had a pimp ass manual too, even though it was black and white!

    Wulf on
    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So do people not read manuals because manuals suck now, or do manuals suck now because people don't read manuals?

    And to the people who say "I don't read manuals because there are tutorials in the game", there is a lot more to a good manual than a picture of which buttons do what.

    SmokeStacks on
  • WulfWulf Disciple of Tzeentch The Void... (New Jersey)Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    So do people not read manuals because manuals suck now, or do manuals suck now because people don't read manuals?

    And to the people who say "I don't read manuals because there are tutorials in the game", there is a lot more to a good manual than a picture of which buttons do what.

    I'm going to go with the former. At least for me, the manual used to be part of the whole experience, allowing me to get into the backstory and the lore so they could not waste any game time explaining it to me, and could jump right into the wiz-bang awesome stuff.

    Wulf on
    Everyone needs a little Chaos!
  • GrimthwackerGrimthwacker Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    On the one hand, in-game tutorials are becoming ever more pervasive, and usually get enough of the general idea across to give players all they need.

    On the other hand, sometimes it's nice to have a quick reference to pull out. And what about people who don't have easy access to online materials? It's not a stretch to put a four or five page manual into something.

    Either way, this eco-crazy trend is becoming very disturbing.

    Grimthwacker on
  • SmokeStacksSmokeStacks Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I fucking hate playing through the mandatory "Press X to jump" tutorial level in every goddamn game.

    SmokeStacks on
  • RanadielRanadiel Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Let's call a spade a spade people. Nixing manuals is nothing but a way to cut overhead and shipping costs for Ubisoft - meaning some poor bastards just lost their jobs during an economic downturn.

    This press-release is a sham, just meant to score green points with eco-nerds. Also you, the consumer, will never see the benefit of this cost-cutting measure because Ubisoft won't drop their game prices, despite the money they're now saving. That's not how companies work. All this does is remove a resource that some gamers actually enjoyed using.

    They are not cutting down Ferngully so that companies can ship manuals along with their games. Most, if not all commercial paper products are harvested from forest-crops specifically grown FOR this very use. Meaning, they wouldn't even exist were it not for the demand.

    If people really want to do something to help the environment, maybe they should review the horribly energy-inefficient recycling methods that pervade the industry.

    Having said that, I won't miss the rail thin excuses for manuals we have today. The industry never goes backwards, so when they gradually got smaller and smaller you knew it was only a matter of time before someone did away with them entirely. I used to love reading the manuals because they typically gave information on the world, the characters, hints, artwork and sometimes a map, but those days are long behind us.

    Sorry if this seems like a rant, but corporate fakeness touches a major nerve for me right now. "The environment" was one of the listed reasons why the corporation I work for is shutting down offices up and down my state and consolidating them into one city. To be honest, if it means I lose my job, the environment can suck one.

    Edit: Also, Shaun White is a douche. He should have said what was really on his mind at the time they asked him for comment, 'I don't care, now pass the bong.'

    Ranadiel on
  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I fucking hate playing through the mandatory "Press X to jump" tutorial level in every goddamn game.

    Takes less than a second to hit X to get that message to go away. If you hate that then you must have some issues. :P

    urahonky on
  • L Ron HowardL Ron Howard The duck MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    I hate it when they port the game over from a console, and instead of give you keys, give you actions. Like, on X-Box, it says "Press X to Jump." On PC, it says "Press Jump." Which button is jump again? It gets worse if you change the settings from default, as most of the time the game can't detect this. I changed around the keys in Force Unleashed, and it still tells me to press one key over here, on the opposite end of the keyboard. I don't remember which button Q is bound to, or what it's action is. Thanks for adding in another function that would totally make my life easier. Lazy greedy bastards.

    L Ron Howard on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Seems Ubi should have gone the old-school way and made the manuals part of the DRM again.

    Remember that shit in Sierra games? "What's the 5th word on the 22nd page?" Was it Police Quest that came with red deciphering glasses?

    MichaelLC on
  • TeeManTeeMan BrainSpoon Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Urgh, the eco-spin on shit is appalling. As mentioned earlier, you're not "saving trees" when those trees will be cut down and used for paper regardless of this move because that's what they were grown for.

    TeeMan on
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  • Shorn Scrotum ManShorn Scrotum Man Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri manual is the BEST manual.

    Shorn Scrotum Man on
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