The era of consulting game manuals for valuable information like control schemes, character bios and your personal game notes could be coming to an end, if Ubisoft’s recent initiative is any indication of things to come.
The publisher announced today that it will discontinue the inclusion of game manuals for all of their PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 titles starting at the end of the year. Ubisoft will replace the tree-killing manuals with in-game, digital manuals. The first game to be released under the new initiative will be Shaun White Skateboarding.
“It’s pretty cool that Ubisoft is making a conscious effort to go green with its new video game packaging,” Shaun White said in Ubisoft’s press release. “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.”
According to Ubisoft’s own reports, it takes 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” to produce one ton of paper to use for game manuals. I’m not sure how many manuals that actually translates too, but that’s a lot of energy and resources for something that most people only ever look at as they're popping the game out of the case.
Ubisoft has been using digital manuals for its PC titles since March 2010, but it will also introduce a new eco-friendly DVD case that’s made out of 100 percent recycled polypropylene. Splinter Cell: Conviction will be the first title to be packaged in the new case.
Ubisoft North America president Laurent Detoc said in a statement, “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.”
Why Ubisoft has excluded Wii titles from the new initiative isn’t clear, but I’ve contacted Ubisoft to see what they have to say, so I’ll let you know what I find out.
Are you ready to say goodbye to physical game manuals? Any manuals that hold special significance to you for some reason?