Effective as of several weeks ago, the sports arm of the world’s second largest third party publisher has ceased including paper manuals with its games. Those of you who have already picked up Fight Night Champions no doubt noticed the omission, which has now been confirmed as a permanent change. Manuals that can be accessed from within the games themselves will henceforth take the place of printed booklets. Competing publisher Ubisoft introduced a similar policy to its packaged games this past year. Rob Semsey of EA Sports reportedly informed Kotaku that the motivation for the strategy stems from a desire by the publisher to “go green”.
It seems like just about every company on the planet is in the green game these days. These moves are always presented publicly as a means for the entity in question to cozy up with Mother Nature and do their part to save the Earth. Despite the reality that these are almost always cost saving measures first and foremost, it’s still nice to see businesses taking measures to reduce wastefulness. Do paper manuals fall under the wasteful categorization though, or are they an expected and vital element of retail game releases?
Many moons ago, technical shortcomings restricted the amount of tutorial and narrative information that developers could work into their games. Full color manuals that covered these and other aspects of games were a great way to work around that issue. Nowadays however, manuals are often black and white and have grown noticeably lighter in content than in the past. This is a natural evolution owing to the expansion of instructional, story and journal segments included within games. As such, today’s gamers tend to devote little (if any) time to perusing traditional manuals.
There was no word given regarding a possible future expansion of this policy to all EA published games. It is probably a safe bet that the publisher, and the interactive entertainment industry in general, will eventually head in this direction though. Will any of our readers lament the slow death of the classic manual? Or do most of you think that this is a responsible and/or beneficial move?
Images courtesy of EA Sports.