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Ubisoft getting rid of game manuals to help save the environment

Submitted by on Tuesday, 20 April 20105 Comments

In an attempt to help save the environment (and money), Ubisoft will no longer provide printed game manuals.

Who actually reads game manuals anymore? If you visit video game forums you’ll notice that gamers frequently ask questions about games all the time. Many of the questions asked could be answered by just reading the instruction manual. So why don’t people use this resource more often? Seriously…

It looks like that forum problem is about to get a lot worse. Starting with Shaun White’s Skateboarding, Ubisoft will no longer ship manuals inside their games. Instead, instructions can be found digitally.

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.

Ubisoft also made a deal with Technimark, Inc. to provide “environmentally-responsible” DVD cases but that seems to only apply to PC games. Here is what Laurent Detoc, president of Ubisoft North America had to say:

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.

Game manuals have generally been hit or miss. While there have been some great booklets included in games like Metal Gear Solid 4, many manuals are just plain, uninteresting, and lack color. Perhaps digital manuals will allow Ubisoft to be more creative and not have to worry about printing fees at the same time. Sadly, we can imagine a pre-order bonus that proudly displays a glorified instruction manual. What a sad day that would be.

Are you a fan of game manuals? Let us know what you think.