Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

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Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby Angelspit » Apr 19 2010, 17:41

<a href="/http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/54329 ... es">Voodoo Extreme</a> points to a press release from Ubisoft announcing they intend to eliminate paper-based manuals:



<i>"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 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."</i>



Wait, there's more:



“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.”



While paper manuals are an artifact of the 80s, and pointless in many cases, I'm so sick of cost reduction initiatives that are not-so-cleverly hidden behind environmental messages.

If you would like to take a look at the original page visit this link:
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Postby arturchix » Apr 19 2010, 18:22

If honestly, I don't care - in the past 10 years or so I have read just 1 manual (Morrowind). Of course, Ubi's official concern for the environment is funny to say the least.

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Postby Humakt » Apr 19 2010, 18:38

So what little extra content those non-pirates had by buying the game is now gone, completely. Not that manual in Ubisoft's case was nothing more than small glimpse in interface and keys explained.

Tip: manual can be used for other stuff than just interface tutorial and keys. It can have a more dephtful look at gameplay elements, art and lore. For some great manuals check out Baldur's Gate, Civilization 4 and Arcanum ones.
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Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby Angelspit » Apr 19 2010, 18:58

The manual was required reading for most serious strategy and role-playing games, and was perfect fro (ahem) toilet reading. I still remember my Falcon 4.0 manual, which was bigger than most of my college textbooks, and my Ultima spellbooks and maps. That paper sure wasn't wasted back then.
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Re: Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby Humakt » Apr 19 2010, 19:08

The manual was required reading for most serious strategy and role-playing games, and was perfect fro (ahem) toilet reading.
Spot on. But manual is/was good for little reading before shut-eyes as well. Most recent games I've purchased with solid manuals have been Street Fighter IV and Sacred 2.

I remember Doom and Quake 2 having suitable manuals for fps, with interesting albeit short section about game's objects and especially enemies.
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Postby GreatEmerald » Apr 19 2010, 19:30

I don't see what's the big deal. Being a (future) environmentalist myself, I can only support Ubisoft on this. It's also proof that economy and ecology can go side by side instead of against each other. As for printed manuals - who is stopping you from printing them on your own? You can even change it however you want. Besides, in these days there are hardly any printed manuals left, with Steam and Impulse getting so popular.

As for the whole manual situation overall - it's a sad thing nowadays. Manuals back in 90s were pretty important, and a living example of that are Might and Magic II and III manuals (in fact, they are relevant pretty much in all MM games, although I haven't seen MM9s). Back then not only would you have no idea what to do when you launch your game, but you couldn't launch it anyway since often times manuals were part of copy protection (again, MM3 and MM4 are good examples). Later on, around late 90s, manuals began to fade, and were left as keymaps, like it was already pointed out. They were still a little relevant since you could go and read it to learn your keys, although you could learn that by experimenting as well. And nowadays manuals are never even read, since there are in-game tutorials that not only list every key you need to know, but also explains how to use it in detail.
In my opinion, that's not a welcome change. For one, it makes reading less popular and thus that makes people less interested in reading overall, while raising interest in videos and such; in turn, that impacts imagination as well as getting information from books and texts. Besides, if you compare books to their cinema counterparts, books are always better. Furthermore, since manuals are no longer interesting, people tend to not read them and thus are demotivated to play old games which require you to read them; thus they lose a lot, since old games are very interesting and usually more original, too.
And talking about reading manuals of old games - it's not at all a common practice, but personally before every playthrough I do I narrate the game's manual (the exception being MM1 since its manual doesn't have any relevant information about the game besides controls; however, I do read the cluebook when going to new areas). Hopefully that will motivate at least someone to actually go RTFM ;)

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Postby Corlagon » Apr 19 2010, 19:49

This is more or less fine by me as long as they do bother to create a manual for their games. Heroes V had an utterly inferior one and it's a pity fans had to take on the task of doing the dirty work.

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Postby Humakt » Apr 19 2010, 20:20

As for printed manuals - who is stopping you from printing them on your own? You can even change it however you want.
Or you could make the game yourself and forget purchasing it in the first place. It is a matter of quality, time and money. Player doesn't necessarily have quality printer, proper paper and may have born thumb on centre of palm and can't do proper pagination.
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Postby Ethric » Apr 19 2010, 20:24

Indeed, a GOOD manual should be on paper, but if you are going to make an erroneous and mostly pointless manual anyway, you might as well not bother to print it either.

And "saving trees" most be the most bogus environment-excuse I ever heard. There's heaps and heaps of non-endangered trees, and you can just plant new ones anyway. Maybe a few grams of ink-chemicals saved could be a good thing, I don't know.
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Postby GreatEmerald » Apr 19 2010, 20:54

Or you could make the game yourself and forget purchasing it in the first place. It is a matter of quality, time and money. Player doesn't necessarily have quality printer, proper paper and may have born thumb on centre of palm and can't do proper pagination.
What's holding them from reading it on the screen, then?

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Postby Humakt » Apr 19 2010, 21:02

What's holding them from reading it on the screen, then?
Practicality. Or should everything be read in a digital form nowadays?
Also, a good paper manual adds collectible value to the game. A digital one you can get anywhere.
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Postby GreatEmerald » Apr 19 2010, 21:27

Practicality. Or should everything be read in a digital form nowadays?
Also, a good paper manual adds collectible value to the game. A digital one you can get anywhere.
I don't see why not. e-paper is already a viable option.
And that's why you have a good printer and all that stuff in the first place. A unique collectible is even more interesting than just an ordinary one.

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Postby Humakt » Apr 19 2010, 21:42

And that's why you have a good printer and all that stuff in the first place. A unique collectible is even more interesting than just an ordinary one.
Every dogpile is unique, with each being an unique combination of mass, shape and tone. But that makes none of them interesting or valuable. Besides consumer shouldn't have to do the effort of making and printing proper manual that should have come with the box.
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Postby jeff » Apr 19 2010, 23:11

I don't see what's the big deal. Being a (future) environmentalist myself, I can only support Ubisoft on this. It's also proof that economy and ecology can go side by side instead of against each other.
If that was their true motivation great, I have nothing against going green where ever possible. It is just a way to improve profits and if they can convince people it’s an environmental move they win. Let’s face it with their new DRM and if HVI is not a huge improvement over HV, this new policy won’t be saving many trees or their bottom line either.
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Postby Kristo » Apr 20 2010, 0:41

Nevermind that the volcano last week took care of any CO2 savings you might see from e-manuals (and pretty much every other green initiative, ever). I'll bet they had some intern do the math to figure out the potential cost and emissions savings - then called it a press release and waited for the applause.

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Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby CloudRiderX » Apr 20 2010, 2:11

Yeah, I'd have to say that this is pretty pathetic. Going green is great and everything, but Ubi is a VIDEO GAME company. If they were a law firm or some other industry where everything goes on paper and tons of paper is used, this might be a big deal.



Even though I also enjoy a brief flipping through a game manual, any game that actually needs a manual through fan demand will already have a website or forum with strategies from players who are already way better than the average player as well as how-to's and tutorials. Not only are game manuals relatively useless in the first place, they are also not a primary source for game information any more.



Congratulations to Ubisoft for being the 'first' at something.
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Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby TheRider » Apr 20 2010, 9:20

If they want to convince me they are going green, than they should plant 13 trees per their last 10 games. If Ubisoft plants 130 trees than this will be the right move and not such transparent and stupid excuse to cut off costs for their half-made games and DDRM.

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Postby ThunderTitan » Apr 20 2010, 10:01

Games still have printed manuals?! Or manuals at all, they're more like booklets even when they're in .pdf form.

Nevermind that the volcano last week took care of any CO2 savings you might see from e-manuals (and pretty much every other green initiative, ever).
But volcano's actually make the planet colder (as they contain a lot more then just CO2).

And of course without those initiatives we'd have even more CO2 in the air.

But yeah, planting more trees would be better, especially since most deforestation is the result of making room for lifestock.
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Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby Kalah » Apr 20 2010, 10:32

Greenwash. It's rubbish.
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Ubisoft Eliminates Paper Manuals

Postby admira99 » Apr 20 2010, 12:00

well, Ubi can eliminate DRM and save much energy used to run their server 24/7 (in which highly recommended in Go Green environment) while still making their customers happy. O btw, you can also reduce the upkeep cost for running the server especially for single player games and...ah, forget it, it is Ubi anyway.


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