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”.

26 comments

  1. Pingback: Ubisoft Says No More Game Manuals | JetLib News

  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
  4. 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.

    Reply
  5. 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?

    Reply
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  7. 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!!!

    Reply
  8. 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.

    Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
  11. T8 - April 23, 2010 12:05 am

    and what next, you want free health­care for all?

    Reply
  12. Pingback: Ubisoft to ditch instruction manuals | grngdgt.com

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

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

    Reply
  14. Pingback: It Gets Broken over Time | Thinking about Development and Leadership

  15. 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.

    Reply
  16. Pingback: NEWS: Ubisoft to ditch instruction manuals | iPod and iPhone

  17. 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.

    Reply
  18. 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

    Reply
  19. Pingback: NEWS: Ubisoft to ditch instruction manuals | DigiCamBlog: Digital Camera Tips and Techniques

  20. 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.

    Reply
  21. 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.

    Reply
  22. 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.

    Reply
  23. 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

    Reply
  24. 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.

    Reply
  25. 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

    Reply
  26. 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:)

    Reply

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