April 22, 2010

Printed Manuals No More?

No more manuals? Ubisoft announced this week that they will be ditching the trend of printing instruction manuals for new games under the “green” initiative.  While no other publishers have jumped on that “green” train just yet it is likely that others will follow suit.

Printed manuals have been part of gaming since you bought PC games in plastic bags.  There have been many stand out eras for manuals such as the NES-era booklets to the manuals that accompanied Electronic Arts vinyl-sized game sleeves.  Some may argue that the advancement in on screen contextual commands, first level tutorials have made the manual pointless but is this really the case?

“It’s yet another example of the anti-consumer tendencies of big companies under the guise of fictional “green initiatives,” and I don’t want anyone to get it mixed up. Apart from the use of instruction manuals, and what they may mean (or not mean) to us, let’s get one thing straight: any publisher who decides to forego including printed instruction manuals with their games will save the money they have to spend on authorship of the document, putting it together, publishing it, et cetera and so on. And you better believe that none of that savings will be passed on to the consumer. You can take that to the bank.” Say Colin Moriarty at IGN.

Anti-Consumer tendencies are starting to become the trend with big publishers, MW2 is a prime example of this, stripping everything out of the PC version that made it a “PC” title and then charging $10 dollars more to boot.

Thankfully, I think consumers are starting to catch on to these trends and starting to speak out against them.  The outrage over Ubisofts recent DRM fiasco shows what outraged customers will do.

On  a personal level this will be saddening for me to see go.  Even now at the age of 25 when I? get a new game that I am excited about I make my wife drive me home and I read the instruction manual on the way there like a giddy school girl.  I also think, especially in some of complicated games, that in game manuals provide a much more in depth look at that game.  They give far more commands and button configurations that the player otherwise would have to figure out.  NHL 10 has 5 pages of just different commands you can do.  You can’t cover all that in a “In Game Tutorial”.


  1. star mania - February 24, 2011 7:57 pm

    this is it! the game that is spectacular!!excellent, extraordinary and you wont want to miss this game! promise:)

  2. Simon - April 25, 2010 6:19 pm

    There is a reason that AC2 didn’t sell at all… even IGN reviewers gave it a horrible review based on that fact. Supposedly there isn’t supposed to be DRM on some of their new games. We will see how it turns out

  3. Karen - April 25, 2010 3:31 am

    They already went green with their DRM software. Requiring me to have a constant connection to the internet just to play a game made me buy one less game.

  4. Rick - April 24, 2010 7:10 pm

    There is a reason that AC2 didn’t sell at all… even IGN reviewers gave it a horrible review based on that fact. Supposedly there isn’t supposed to be DRM on some of their new games. We will see how it turns out

  5. T8 - April 24, 2010 3:11 pm

    Air, you would be surprised at how many people collect the original boxing and manuals for each game. I personally dont but i know a few guys that do, and this really bothers them.

    To each his own.

  6. AiR - April 24, 2010 1:02 pm

    o and just to maybe put this out there with the ever so decreasing cost of memeory chips these days i dont understand why they dont send a smal 128mb usb drive with the manual in pdf format? these are all options. as well as bundling in inside the disc. as i know u people cry about internet outages or what not.

  7. AiR - April 24, 2010 12:59 pm

    really whoooooooooooooo cares? the only time i ever used the manuals was to refer to the serial number. I will be buyin games off steam anyway. Most games walk u thru how the game works anyway in the first level or two.

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  9. thsoundman - April 23, 2010 11:44 am

    There is a reason that AC2 didn’t sell at all… even IGN reviewers gave it a horrible review based on that fact. Supposedly there isn’t supposed to be DRM on some of their new games. We will see how it turns out

  10. SteveW - April 23, 2010 11:23 am

    They already went green with their DRM software. Requiring me to have a constant connection to the internet just to play a game made me buy one less game.

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  12. thsoundman - April 23, 2010 8:14 am

    Sandman stated it well. I tend to do the following. I will generally wait till the game is on the “bargin bin” for 6 dollars at big lots. I still get the game but I know the company gets no money off of it.

    Most of the money that is made from video game sales is made in the first two weeks of it’s release. If no one buys during this time period then it will piss companies off.

    I suspect that the PC community could actually pull this off as a whole but the following would most likely happen. a. Ubisoft would just say fuck you PC players and just make console games, which isn’t far from what they do now. And/or b. Console gamers would jump all over the game and still not solve the problem.

    Unfortunatly I think we are screwed in the long run. I just hope we get PDF manuals we can print out of it.

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  14. sandmannc40 - April 23, 2010 7:04 am

    Stop buying games from these vendors. When they ask you just tell them no Manual no purchase.


    The going “GREEN” is a fraud and if you follow this you will lose. Wake up America.

    Want to go “GREEN” plant a fricken tree that should make you feel good.

    Leave my manuals alone.

    We can’t read the manual if it is not on paper, so why buy the game?

    If we can’t read the manual in the car or on the beach or eating dinner why purchase a game where the only way to learn the game is to sit at the computer to read the screen to learn the ins and outs of the game.

    I think it is time for the American gamer to tell big business that if you shit on us we will shit back by not purchasing your games no matter how great they are.

    Then you can watch your bottom line fade away……….

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  16. T8 - April 23, 2010 12:05 am

    and what next, you want free healthcare for all?

  17. thsoundman - April 22, 2010 11:48 pm

    I do just that. I don’t purchase games that I feel cross my ethical boundries of what I am willing to condone. For example, I don’t buy pay DLC period. Unless it’s huge and it’s the equivilant of an expansion pack.

    I don’t own any of the halo map packs, gears of war map packs or MW2 map packs. I don’t pay for them, becaues I don’t support the money making gimmick that those things are. They should be free.

  18. T8 - April 22, 2010 9:46 pm

    alright brad, you can start being the bigger man, and make a statement. You can pass up on playing any new video games because you arnt happy with the way they are delivered.

    In the words of a friend of mine ” Rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, doesnt keep it from sinking”

    Unless you get everyone to make a stand, we just have to deal with what they are willing to give us. Lame, but the dirty truth.

  19. thsoundman - April 22, 2010 7:28 pm

    Yes I definatly am not a fan of this. I am angred that consumers let companies walk all over them. IW is a prime example of a company that flat out screwed it’s userbase with it’s PC support and it’s highly overpriced map pack. Yet consumers continue to line the pockets of these big companies.

  20. Michael - April 22, 2010 7:01 pm

    HA! Yet another example of companies using “green” to give customers less for what they paid for. How else do you please your board and shareholders? A PDF could be an alternative until the pennies per share starts dictating letting the technical writers go and let games use wikis and other customer created content. Let your paying customers do your work for you!!!

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  22. thsoundman - April 22, 2010 2:33 pm

    I wouldn’t have an issue with this if they actually passed those savings on to the consumer and provided lets say a PDF to download instead that I could print but that is just not the case. In this case, they are going to reap the savings, add profits and still charge over the top prices for their games. This is where I have the issues. I can completly understand providing PDF instead of printed but providing nothing is insult to injury IMO.

    I know for myself personally I collect the game boxes and the artwork that comes within. To take this away from me gives me one less reason to purchase a game. I don’t own anything other then the plastic box. The game isn’t really “mine” according to their license agreement. What reason do I really have to purchase the game anymore?

  23. LoyalV - April 22, 2010 2:22 pm

    I’m not so bothered by this, really. I don’t usually look at a game manual more than twice, and they can offer better online documentation anyway. The “green” merits of this are debatable, as it’s really a small percentage of our total paper use, but it’s a pretty good cost cutting measure.

  24. T8 - April 22, 2010 1:12 pm

    i think you should have the option to get a paper manual, if you so choose to. Some of us would just prefer to get our game quickly quietly and easy on steam. Others collect the boxes, and enjoy the artwork that often comes with them.

  25. RoadRage - April 22, 2010 1:02 pm

    This is bullshit to me. Just seems like companies going out of their way to take away any tangible property. They give you a disc that don’t really own and thats it.

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