Ubisoft Ditches Paper Game Manuals; Earth Celebrates

April 20, 2010Written by Kyle P.

Since the dawn of the industry, game manuals have accompanied every game on the market. Whether big or small, color or black and white, you could not find a new game without its manual. With the rise of the internet and in-game tutorials, the need for manuals has quickly evaporated. However, developers have always taken the time and money to include manuals with their games…until now.

In a press release today, Ubisoft announced that beginning with the holiday release of Shaun White Skateboarding, they will not be including paper manuals with the game package. The removal will affect only the company’s PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles. According to the release, for every ton of paper Ubisoft used for game manuals, “[it] 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.” Instead of the tree wasting paper manuals, Ubisoft will be uploading in-game digital manuals.

Do not fret, as Olympic gold medalist Shaun White believes the move is a sound one, and is ecstatic that his game will be the first to be manual-less.

“It’s pretty cool that Ubisoft is making a conscious effort to go green with its new video game packaging. 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, the company is testing out a new “eco-friendly” packaging, featuring 100% recycled polypropylene. This move will only affect the company’s PC titles.

“Ubisoft is often recognized for making great games, but it’s a special privilege to be the industry leader at saving trees,” commented Laurent Detoc, the 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.”

Time will tell whether or not more developers will follow. Personally, I feel nothing beats a physical copy of a game and manual. What about you? Is this just one more step towards an all-digital future? Post your responses in the comments section below.