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.
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.