Ubisoft's eco initiative ditches paper manuals

Publisher replacing instruction inserts for all Xbox 360, PS3 games with in-game digital equivalent beginning this holiday; PC cases go 100 percent recycled.

Assassin's Creed II lit up the sales charts upon its release in November for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, shipping some 8 million units on the two systems by February. Of course, in each of those games came a multipage paper instruction manual, and the use of those resources apparently doesn't sit well with Ubisoft.

Ubisoft has gone green with its logo, too.

Today, the publisher announced a new environmental initiative to do away with the time-honored game manual insert. Instead, Ubisoft will replace the paper manuals with an in-game equivalent for all of its upcoming PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games, beginning with Shaun White Skateboarding this holiday. France-based Ubisoft also said that the initiative will allow it to incorporate "a more robust manual."

Describing the impetus behind its change, Ubisoft said that every one ton of paper used for game manuals requires "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." The publisher cited its own internal data for this analysis.

Ubisoft also plans to extend its environmental initiative to PC games. The publisher said that it has partnered with Technimark on "the entertainment industry's most environmentally responsible DVD case," for use in all of its future PC games. The case is made out of 100 percent recycled polypropylene, and its implementation will begin with the April 27 rollout of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction for the PC.

The publisher also noted that digital manuals have been included in all of its PC games since March 2010.

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286 comments
chrispicard
chrispicard

@HollowNinja your exact words were... "If video games stopped having cases then I might stop buying them"... so you retract that statement?... if you don't mean it, don't type it.

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

@chrispicard That you shouldn't take everything so damn literally.

yosuke_hitomi
yosuke_hitomi

it looks people are getting to care about this world..

chrispicard
chrispicard

@HollowNinja what's your point exactly?

Triton
Triton

Great idea, put all the stuff that should be in a manual like back in the 80s when games didn't ship on the cheap cds and actually came with a real manual. Now they ship with like 8 pages telling us how to insert our disc in the system? Then you wouldn't have to put out the game guides anymore cause it will be on the cheap produced disc.

scotwolf
scotwolf

supernaught360 i too remember the price of games being expensive. the likes of space invaders and asteroids on the old atari woody i had and still have cost £35 each in the 70's also i bought phantasy star on the megadrive £65 as it had a larger capacity and what a superb game it was. kids these days don't know the half of it

scotwolf
scotwolf

i don't even look at a games manual,i pick up n play. so if its saves a few trees then it can't be bad i'm the same with instructions etc mmmmm? maybe it's why my shelves and cupboards fall down

HollowNinja
HollowNinja

@chrispicard: There's a certain something in this world called "hyperbole".

Hear-No-Evil
Hear-No-Evil

How about they bring thost cost savings down to the consumer level.

supernaught360
supernaught360

One more thing: I think you people complaining about the cost of games ought to really go back and see what you were paying for SNES cartridges back in the day. Several games exceeded $75.00, some even $110.00. All the big SNES games were like that. Look it up if you don't believe. The game publishers will charge what the market (us) can bear. And frankly, I think there's a lot of us invested in the hobby enough that they could charge $75-80.00 per game, and we'd pay it, because it's a hobby dear to us. It costs millions to make a blockbuster game, and most don't recoup their costs. I guarantee none of you would run a business without trying to profit from it, period.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@ blakeney So you rationalize piracy (theft of something they didn't create/design) by saying it's "okay" because "they are still raking it in at a bigger and faster rate then your average coke baron" That's just an absurd and hypocritical anti-corporate comment. As far as video game retailers like Gamestop, they engage in a patently illegal practice of selling "used" games. Used? Answer this: how can a game be "used?" The disc it's imprinted on can be used - not the game code privately owned by it's creator/producers. Why? Because it's an "idea", or "intellectual property" only using the disc to transfer and profit from the original game code. they created, so they can flourish, and create even MORE games. Tip: you think they charge "too much" for games? Here's a fact: if they were charging "too much" not enough people would buy them, and that's not the case, is it? Differentiating between "small" publishers and large corporations belies a disturbing attitude toward a company that produces games that you buy blakeney. They profit big because they make big games, who are you to say they "make too much?" Disturbing indeed.

blakeney
blakeney

supernaught360, while your right in a way, you must also consider this. How many "Gamestations" ect are there in your town alone? next how many in ur nearest city.... then how many in the whole world? All of them selling games as fast as greggs up the road is selling pasties! Its bs that game pirating in anyway effects the likes of ubisoft! yes it does ofc effect thier potential profit, but with games like assasins creed under their belt, trust me, they are still rakeing it in at a bigger and faster rate then your average coke baron. Seeing as they make all that money still. is it really right to go way beyond the "usual" methods? i mean, now like 2 months+ has past, you can downlaod the said games fully cracked and drm free, so whos really paying the price for it? the people that BROUGHT it and ONLY them! I would understand a small "inhouse" studio doing this kinda thing, but tbh they would'nt do it in their wildest dreams, becuase they actually love the industry for what its worth.

awyoung
awyoung

How about you start selling games electronically as downloads without charging twice as much as the game retails for? I bet all that plastic, metal and chemical compound processing does a lot of nasty stuff too... Ditch the physical medium or make digital a viable alternative worth people buying into, paper manual production pales in comparison. I otherwise support this move from paper manuals. I just know we'll still be paying the same price.

godzillab10
godzillab10

yes, divert all tree killing to the 250 page player guides that less than 50% of the gamers buy. Seriously though, it'll feel just plain weird and the case will feel empty. Speaking of cases, maybe now we can have the cases that actually protect our games back, and ditch the ones that have holes in them

xarafu
xarafu

The University of East Anglia. Global warming is a hoax. Cut the crapp

supernaught360
supernaught360

@Crzy1 Your quote: "don't criminalize the people who pay for the games" You posted it, so answer this: how else are they supposed to PROTECT their intellectual property, and still let paying users access their code? Right now there's no other way, and sadly, because of rampant game piracy DRM is all they have currently. Your quote: "no one wants to "own" the game, they just want to use it on their terms and not Ubisoft's" Oh, okay, in one line "no one wants to "own"" but you think you should set the terms, and not the OWNER?!? Explain that please, because you said you don't want to "own" it but want "owner" privileges over someone else's product. Again, I DEFY you to explain how you would operate a game publisher, game development company without profiting from it. You see, it takes money to produce games: staff payrolls, insurance, buildings to work in, proper equipment, and all the hours associated with creating/designing the game, programming it, etc. Who's on their "high-horse" here? If you owned the company, you'd be trying to protect your investment as well. Oh, and I don't need a PC to be part of a discussion that affects console gamers more than PC gamers.

Crzy1
Crzy1

@supernaught360 I don't give a damn about their intellectual property. I know they own the rights to it, but when they make it a royal pain in my ass to play a game (wtf else are we supposed to do with it, stare at the disk?), then they've pushed it too god-damned far. They want another dime out of me, they better make it worth my while to pay for a game to play. In the end, it's consumerism at work, they offer a product that I can't use/would have difficulty using while others offer superior products that don't criminalize the people who pay for the games. Get off your high horse, no one wants to "own" the game, they just want to use it on their terms and not Ubisoft's, if you allow this garbage to continue, PCs will become the equivalent of Apple products in which the developers have more say over how you use it than you do. I have no problem with online activations/authorizations, but forcing people to be online 100% of the time they're playing a game crosses some serious lines. But given your profile you don't have a gaming PC, so that pretty much excludes you from the argument altogether.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@ Corrosion Well, considering that Ubi Soft is based in France, it's not a problem for them because they get 78.8% of their power from nuclear power plants, and only pay about $15.00 a month for their electric bills.

Corrosion
Corrosion

Great. Now we'll have to run up the electricity by wasting time reading the ingame manual with the computer running. I bet this 'eco-initiative' probably has a very little effect on the environment on the long-run.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@ evaneself Yeah buddy, you actually DO have a right when you buy it (your quote: "You no longer have any rights to the product that you will not have it all, no cover, no manual, nothing") and that's the right to experience/play/use the copy you bought a license to use with your $60.00 for YOURSELF. You're acting like the right to play the game equals zero. Don't play then, if the game itself means nothing to you. You didn't buy a game anyway, just a plastic disc and a copy of the same code everyone else bought. If you don't like it, go create/produce/sell your own games for nothing, and see how far you get with your game company - it takes money to run one.

supernaught360
supernaught360

For the anti-DRM crowd: the concept of an intellectual property is that that it needs to be imprinted (paper,record albums, 8-tracks, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, game cartridges, blu-ray discs, SD cards, etc) on a transferable media to get it to your eyes, ears, and brain. How else (and I'd appreciate an answer from any naysayers) would they get their INTELLECTUAL (meaning created and existing in their minds) PROPERTY(they thought of it and created it, NOT YOU) into your hands for consumption/use? Fact: none of you EVER OWNED the game, song, movie, poem, lyric etc you only own the media it's imprinted on, and when you buy this media, you're only paying for a LICENSE to use it for yourself. And the creator/publisher has every right to protect their INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. So get off it, and understand - when you buy a disc with a game on it, you DON'T OWN THE GAME. If you want to own THE GAME, you'd have to pay the creator/inventor at least the millions it cost them to produce the original source code, thus allowing YOU the rights to copy, produce, and sell the GAME. You don't own ANY games, just the transferable media it's imprinted on, and the license to use it for yourself, which means you have no right to copy and distribute what you DON'T OWN, and DIDN'T CREATE. The truth hurts. Deal with it and enjoy the creations of the developers, and the product of the publishers who made it possible for the developers to create the game.

couly
couly

Environmental issue my ass, it's all about money, the same reason games are on steam, (and they're more expensive). $60 for a game with no manual, I really don't like where they are going.

kilaan
kilaan

I remember when games came with a thick manuals, a quick reference guide, a map (many times clothe) and you didn't need to spend an extra $20 for a limited addition. Back in the day with Ultima Underworld, Baldur's Gate, and Fallout series. I just find it funny how they are saying they are being eco when in the end all they are being is cheap.

Crzy1
Crzy1

Great news, although I'm never buying another Ubisoft game until they drop the DRM. Most of my PC purchases are digital only these days, so most of the manuals I get are .pdf instead of paper.

Nashnir
Nashnir

Will give a better suggestion. 1. Stop wasting resources on making so DRM >.> 2. Stop making crappy half assed games.

sagtlthl
sagtlthl

I'm totally supporting this step, the resources on earth are depleting so quickly and we need to do something about it and what Ubisoft will do is a step forward in the right direction.

StarvingPoet
StarvingPoet

Cut the crap - It's not about saving the environment, it's about saving money. I'm completely cool with it, as long as you tell the truth. If Ubisoft REALLY wanted to 'save the environment', they would stop wasting our limited resources on something as useless to our evolution as entertainment.

evaneself
evaneself

I see how Ubisoft will make the people that do not have anything after 10 years. It is the result that you buy, regardless of bad conditions will require. You no longer have any rights to the product that you will not have it all, no cover, no manual, nothing. Will not even realize that you allow them too much? Games belong to you. You have every right to enjoy what you buy whenever you want. Not supported mockery.

shimya
shimya

no manual = less money spend making the packaging = 10% off the price for the consumer... that will never happen :D I really like game manuals, shows how much the publisher/developer care about the product, if it's in color,that's top notch, if it's just a stupid insert,i'd rather not get one at all. Bottom line,it would be good to see some of the money saved in creating them game equate a lower price tag. It's good to dream *sigh*

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

There's always the greedy "global warming is a scam" prick around.

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

Ah, so that's how they're going get us to give up the physical ownership: by selling it as concern for the environment. Clever.

Sergsky
Sergsky

Does this mean that companies are passing on a discount for us the consumers? Yeah right.

Sergsky
Sergsky

They shouldn't ditch it entirely. There are many games with confusing controls so they should just include a two page maual with the basic stuff. Companies are willing to go green only if they save money.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Green environment = GOOODDD. ;). DRM = BAAADDD :?

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

This is excellent news. Instruction manuals have never been particularly important as long as the game instructs you as you play. But even if you do still need one then it will be accessable in the game. Bleddy brilliant. This pleases an eco nut like me.

360hammer
360hammer

@Telorin Breathing cleaner air LMAO Funny thing is, America can be the greenest it can be and you'll still be buying products from companies who manufacture goods in other places of the globe who could care less about pollution. Grow up a little and realize a company touting to go green is absurd when you see cars like GM's EV1 disappear off the map and you did see the Olympics held in China right? Why do you think most things you buy say Made in China, Mexico, ...... No one outside America is dumb enough to buy that BS, they just want a piece of the American pie that is running out quite fast due to tree huggin idiots.

jimbo102671
jimbo102671

Instead of ditching the manual entirely, just place an 8 to 12 page insert pointing out the essentials. (Isn't guiding through every process what the Player's Guide books are for?) To illustrate my point, I skimmed through the Pokemon HeartGold manual and it was over 50 pages. I don't believe many of us are willing to read all that in one sitting.

Chivey
Chivey

There are trees grown specifically for making paper. Trees are a renewable resource because harvested trees can be replaced with newly planted trees. Not making paper manuals to save trees is like not eating a salad to save vegetables. As others have said, this is just a cost saving measure disguise as being "green."

vishakhenzo2005
vishakhenzo2005

u dnt have too skip making the manual....paper isnt just made by wood..it can be made my wastes such as left over sugarcane extract or rags..but might be a little more expensive..but still a lot beneficial...the fact is going green doesnt mean u have to stop using ur basic necessities but to replace them or use them in a way which is environmental friendly..cause a lot of us dont like reading on screens a lot

Telorin
Telorin

@Gunmaster51 I agree that they're titles have not been too overwhelming and pricing has been off. Unfortunately, that is not the topic of this news article. And people in this forum are failing to realize what the company is trying to do at this particular time regarding this topic. They'd rather comment on greed, conspiracies and whether or not Ubisoft is the nazi of all game packaging/pricing... which is all fair in that which is the "art" Internet forum posting. But at least they should back it up with a valid arguement instead of crying out "Global warming is a scam! I want dead trees with my games!" or "Ubisoft is greedy". If someone posts on here with a legit, non-hating post on why we need to keep our manuals, then I'll be up for a constructive debate. I just don't see the problem, it's the exact same, except you have to read it on the TV instead... AND you waste less of our LIMITED natural resources. If I had to call someone greedy, it's all the people that would rather see our planet die for some game manuals than to support someone that's trying to see that it doesn't happen. Otherwise I'll just keep slandering the posts of the insta-haters. I like to think of myself as a forum vigilante that way. :P

Gunmaster51
Gunmaster51

@Telorin I don't think you're familiar with Ubisoft. They have a recent history of developing shallow games that sell because they look good. For example AC1, Far Cry 2 and the spin-off Prince of Persia. The only good game they've made in a long while is AC2 and even for that they charged extra for parts of the game. This is the main reason many gamers distrust them and deduce that their "green" tactics are nothing more than another venue for increasing profits.

Telorin
Telorin

@bonereaper69 Quote: "O and FYI this Global Warming "crisis" is a bunch of bull SH!T" unquote Prove it.... O and FYI, bonereaper69's claims are a bunch of bull SH!T. Wow, saying something ain't so was easier than I thought. I call Shinannigans on EVERYTHING!!! .... times infinity. Because the Internet will let me have my say! :P no matter what I say.

Telorin
Telorin

@Master_2K4 You read/play at the same time by implementing a menu option called "Game Manual". Or is that too much for you? :P