Ubisoft Says Goodbye to Paper Manuals, Hello to Flimsy Cases

Ubi green logo2.jpg

I’m all for recycling and environmental preservation, but I’m getting tired of all this “going green” crap. Common sense tells me that climate change is just a part of natural evolution, not something caused by everyone driving around in SUVs or, in this case, publishers printing paper manuals for video games. But I guess that’s just me.

In an effort to be “greener,” Ubisoft has announced a new eco-friendly packaging initiative. Beginning this holiday season with the release of Shaun White Skateboarding, all of Ubisoft’s PS3 and Xbox 360 titles will come with in-game digital manuals in place of paper instruction booklets.

Ubisoft is also partnering up with Technimark to produce the “industry’s most environmentally-responsible DVD case” — the “ecoTech” case made of 100 percent-recycled polypropylene — for all future North American PC titles, which as of March have also been shipping with digital manuals. Splinter Cell Conviction will be Ubisoft’s first “ecoTech” PC video game when it ships on April 27.

The manual thing I’m fine with, because frankly, unless it’s for a more complicated game like an RPG, I never even touch a game’s manual. PSN and XBLA games have also shown that digital manuals are effective since it’s much more convenient to pause and have access to instructions right there in the game — there’s no reason this shouldn’t be the same for full retail releases. Of course, it’d be nice if cutting the cost of printing manuals would be reflected in the reduction of game prices, but yeah… like that’s ever going to happen.

However, the “ecoTech” cases worry me. If they are anything like the new Xbox 360 cases (and some Wii cases too), they’ll suck. I absolutely hate the eco-friendly 360 cases, as they are so flimsy they feel like they are going to crack whenever I pick one up, which does not give me the greatest confidence in their ability to protect the DVD inside. Because of the recycling cutouts in the plastic on the front and back covers, I’ve even put a hole in the cover art of a game with the tip of my finger. I hate ’em, I hate ’em, I hate ’em!

Being environmentally friendly is great, but I’d rather have a quality product that takes a little more energy to produce than a flimsy one that’s “greener.” If Ubisoft’s “ecoTech” cases are durable and green, though, I’ll just shut my yap.

“It’s pretty cool that Ubisoft is making a conscious effort to go green with its new video game packaging,” commented Olympic Gold Medalist Shaun White. “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.”

“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. “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.”

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!