EA drops paper game manuals

By on March 23, 2011, 4:23 PM
Following Ubisoft's example, Electronics Arts has announced plans to stop including paper instruction booklets with its games. The publisher initially launched the initiative in January with the PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 and the change went into full effect earlier this month with Fight Night Champion.

The decision will extend to all EA titles worldwide and games will ship with on-disc manuals that are easily accessible from the main menu and pause screen. Gamers can also download digital pamphlets in multiple languages through a dedicated section on EA's support site, though only for certain titles.


EA expects to reduce the printed materials in packaged games by about 40%. The company will undoubtedly save money too, but it hasn't shared any figures and has decided to focus on the environmental angle. "EA is committed to a healthy and sustainable environment," said EA COO John Schappert.

We're not sure how these numbers translate to EA's operations, but when Ubisoft made the shift last year it claimed that producing one ton of paper for its game manuals consumed around two tons of wood from 13 trees with a net energy of 28 million BTUs -- the average heating and energy for one home per year.




User Comments: 55

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Nima304 said:

Good. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Cota Cota said:

They may consider not including manuals at all :\

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Zippa-de-do-dah..... Oh, happy, happy day. And once again the guilt and burden of "going green"" falls on the consumer. The manufacturers pocket the savings, but don't commensurately reduce the price of the game, (or whatever).

It's like the credit card companies expounding on all the, "great things they were doing for you, that is, great things they were doing for you AFTER the Fed cracked down on them.

Still in all, it's no mean feat, getting bull s*** to spin like that.

Good. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Wow, you're a corporate dream child. BP dumps a billion gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, while you save a few pieces of paper, then equate that with saving the world.

"Reduce, reuse, recycle"! Isn't that the same crap they were spouting at "carosel", in the movie, "Logan's Ruin"?

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

I don't know anybody who actually reads the manual. Everything is pretty much explained in-game nowadays. No manuals needed at all, it seems.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm a little sad to see them go. I have at least flipped through the manual for all the games I own, read several of them. When picking up used games I like to grab ones with the manual.

If its a fighting game I usually look there first for a basic move list.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

TFA said:

EA drops paper game manuals.

Headline next week:

EA raises game prices.

codefeenix codefeenix said:

I am sure they will pass the savings on to the consumer by dropping the new game price from $60 back down to $50... not.

Prosercunus said:

I am fairly critical on EA and other game distributors/developers... but I am ok with dropping manuals, they should make them available digitally though.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Damn...I always love the smell of a new manual.

I hope this don't catch with all the major game companys.

ramonsterns said:

Nima304 said:

Good. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Yes, because game manuals are like plastic bottles, right? You buy one and throw it away the first chance you get?

BrianUMR said:

ramonsterns said:

Nima304 said:

Good. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Yes, because game manuals are like plastic bottles, right? You buy one and throw it away the first chance you get?

Pretty sure he is talking about the first R the reduce. Not reuse or recycle.

I miss the old game manuals that did tell you about all the different things in game. Now they are called strategy guides. I remember finding my Sim City 2000 manual just the other day and was surprised at how big it was.

ramonsterns said:

BrianUMR said:

ramonsterns said:

Nima304 said:

Good. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Yes, because game manuals are like plastic bottles, right? You buy one and throw it away the first chance you get?

Pretty sure he is talking about the first R the reduce.

I'm pretty sure he's talking about all three.

Nima304 said:

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

See?

war59312 said:

I agree, we need no steakin manual for no video games. Most are crap anyways!

Not like you are trying to build something real.

Not only a waste of paper but a waste of development time in my eyes. Time and money better spent on making the game better.

treetops treetops said:

benny26 said:

Damn...I always love the smell of a new manual.

I hope this don't catch with all the major game companys.

Me too, and yeah I do like to browse over my game manual. Recycling is cool and all but for 60$ I want a damn paper manual. While other people are playing the first day you get a game looking at the manual while you wait is great.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

I agree, we need no steakin manual for no video games. Most are crap anyways!

Not like you are trying to build something real.

Not only a waste of paper but a waste of development time in my eyes. Time and money better spent on making the game better.

They made them crap. Older game manuals were much better. I like being able to sit back and read them first.

I doubt that any cease and dissist of the game manual is going to have us get better games.

negroplasty negroplasty said:

Sweet. Save some trees!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Matthew DeCarlo said:

The company will undoubtedly save money too, but it hasn't shared any figures and has decided to focus on the environmental angle.

While I'm happy with the tiny environmental impact this will have, it's clear this has absolutely nothing to do with it. I'm still not fond of the fact that us PC gamers have to pay the 'console tax' and receive nothing in return. No doubt once we go all digital we won't be seeing any of those savings either .

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Sweet. Save some trees!
Right. Why not plant some trees to make paper from? Does that sound like a plan? No, wait a minute, we need that ground for a housing development and strip mall.

Oh, and before I forget, land for low income housing in furtherance of unrepentant and uncontrolled breeding of the social entitlement set. Wow, they make some paperwork.

In the meantime, why don't you set up a memorial for the trees that died to make your copy book.

demonlord721 said:

Sad days ahead

What was better back in the day...opening up that heavy PC game box, the game you were waiting months if not years for inside. As a child you were so eager to see the game that you couldn't wait to get home. You open the box to find the shiny new jewel case inside along with a several inch thick manual that you can read on the way home (or for the adults a bathroom reader) to know exactly what you plan on doing when you get the game first installed.

What class were you going to pick? What play-style were you going to go for? Who were the characters you wanted to unlock? All of these questions were answered with the manual and I'm sad to see them go, even if they are just getting turned into e-manuals. Games used to be hard enough or require a memory that most couldn't hope to obtain so they allowed notes in the back of the book (seldom used of course but games like myst gave you that place to write) Games like everquest were so expansive that a 135 page atlas was actually published and used by many gamers. Even now I see a walmart version of assassins creed sitting on my desk that came in a 4 sided printed piece of cardboard with the cover on it, a Styrofoam insert with the cd (no case) and a single slip of paper saying who the lawyers were for the company in four different languages..... I was sincerely disappointed.

Sorry EA and Ubisoft, I feel you made the wrong move.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

They'll never change my love for paper and the printed word, not even if they show me pictures of baby spruce trees being clubbed to death in the Arctic......!!!

demonlord721 said:

Agreed

That and for me concept art books cannot be replaced by digital copies.

techb0t said:

Well... if they want me to save paper then I guess I should avoid their special edition games. Just think of all that packaging I'll avoid. That'll save some trees... WAIT money is printed on paper! 2 birds, 1 stone. I'm all about saving trees.

treetops treetops said:

Save our eyes, reading a paper manual is way better for your eyes, reaching aside Demonlord hit the nail on the head.

Acespaces Acespaces said:

Ahhh, I remember the PS2 game manuals that were 1/4 inch thick

aj_the_kidd said:

I'm Old Skool, one of the first things i did when i got a new game was read the manual, oh well, gotta save the environment i guess.

Guest said:

Here is the flaw on the logic here, what if you can't get something to work in the first place? Well then you NEED a manual. It's getting way to easy to just pinch a few pennies here and there for the sake of being "Green". To be honest I'm about fed up with all this green crap. I have allways put my trash where it goes and recycled long before it was the "cool" thing to do. Now there's all these people telling me I "Got to do it or else". To hell with green...gimmie Red!

TekGun TekGun said:

"The company will undoubtedly save money too, but it hasn't shared any figures and has decided to focus on the environmental angle"

Yea right EA, pull the other one. This has absolutely nothing to do with the environment, and everything to do with maximising profit.

negroplasty negroplasty said:

captaincranky said:

Sweet. Save some trees!
Right. Why not plant some trees to make paper from? Does that sound like a plan? No, wait a minute, we need that ground for a housing development and strip mall.

Oh, and before I forget, land for low income housing in furtherance of unrepentant and uncontrolled breeding of the social entitlement set. Wow, they make some paperwork.

In the meantime, why don't you set up a memorial for the trees that died to make your copy book.

What the hell is your problem? Get a life and quit trolling.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

""EA is committed to a healthy and sustainable environment," said EA COO John Schappert. "

Translated : EA is committed to making a profit at any cost. Rather than passing the savings to our customers, We will relieve them of the clutter of having instruction manuals laying around everywhere which we feel is worth far more than any monetary savings to them.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I found it very annoying that for years now no game I bought on Steam came with a paper manual. And yes, even EA started on this path a while back. My download copy of Dragon Age didn't come with a paper manual at all! The nerve these companies have.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sweet. Save some trees!

One up, one down, one to polish.

If only everyone adopted that method...

mosu said:

Paper manuals are futile for most players

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

techb0t said:

WAIT money is printed on paper! 2 birds, 1 stone. I'm all about saving trees.

The US's money is printed on cloth. Most other countries use some sort of cloth mix or plastic. Sry not saving trees there.

Lurker101 said:

Am I the only one who's going to miss that weird smell of a fresh games manual?

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Paper manuals are futile for most players

That is a very broad sweeping statement. So, why are paper manuals futile for most players?

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Back when I only had one computer, not having a paper game manual made it kinda hard to read the PDF manual while playing the game. Not as much of a problem now I suppose, so I guess it kinda makes sense.

But I wished until they waited until tablets became more prevalent, nothing makes better bathroom reading than a game manual.

Lurker101 said:

Benny26 said:

Sweet. Save some trees!

One up, one down, one to polish.

If only everyone adopted that method...

Rimmer?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

What the hell is your problem? Get a life and quit trolling.
Aw, did I hurt your widdle feelings? Do you feel self important now that you've called somebody a troll? Does that validate you?

A blatant fact is this; humans need food and shelter, there are too many humans.Trees provide a great portion of that shelter.

You can't conserve by simply abstaining from use. Land needs to be preserved and even reclaimed.

My son, (at age 13), felt sorry for poor little christmas trees, struck down in the prime of life, to die ignominiously in somebody's house for decoration.

Guess what, the trees were planted to become christmas trees, and hence no harm was done.

Now, EA is just going to pocket your money they save by not giving you a manual. And you're going to self delude yourself by thinking you're, "saving a tree"! Hooray, U da man!

I actually have a life, and only a small portion of it involves debating with gung ho delusional do-gooders. Now, go back to twiddling you thumbs into your iPhone, preferably behind the wheel of an SUV. I don't care, you can't hurt me, since you're out in Arizona, and there's not much to collide with. Live a little, burn some fossil fuel!

I drive a motorcycle year round. I enjoy screwing OPEC. I enjoy saving money. But I hardly think I'm a conservationist. After all, some of the gasoline for the bike might have come from as leaky oil well. And God knows, it takes a lot longer to grow a crop of oil, than it does a crop of trees. Much as many trees have died not so very gallantly, putting roofs over this year's crop of crack baby's heads.

See you on Twitter! (Is that an oxymoron? No matter, it's not going to happen).

You seem like you might enjoy Twitter though, as all your social concepts and ideals seem to occur in less than 136 character spasms.

Back when I only had one computer, not having a paper game manual made it kinda hard to read the PDF manual while playing the game. Not as much of a problem now I suppose, so I guess it kinda makes sense.
C'mon man, one computer to play, one computer to read from? And you don't get that you're being led?

At least you could serve up a viable reason for having 2 computers. Hm, such as, "one for porn, and one for paperwork". (Not sure if that "paperwork"pun was intentional or not).

Good. Reduce, reuse, recycle.
One up, one down, one to polish.

If only everyone adopted that method...

And how many trees are going to die in support of your pansy a** royal wedding? Just make sure all those gilt edged invitations are printed on "recycled" paper, so that the hypocrisy doesn't go national.

Rimmer?
My sentiments exactly.

yRaz yRaz said:

If they want to start charging $60 for PC games I want a damn manual. It's fun to flip through as the game installs. If they make the CDkey on just on slip of paper I'm going to be pissed. I lost my BF2142 CDkey because of that. What I do now is buy a game, activate it on steam and keep the case on the shelf for some sense of ownership(Eula says otherwise). I still have my Oblivion, BF2142, CoD2, and CoD4 case in near mint condition.

w3b0n said:

Rick said:

TFA said:

EA drops paper game manuals.

Headline next week:

EA raises game prices.

lol im pretty sure its happening now, every AAA game costs 60 dllrs and they even reduced the cost for shipping and burning copys on DVD's since digital copys are getting the major sales on the market.

One thing for sure is that cost of life nowdays is way more expensive than before and yeah we might feed greedy monsters when we make a purchase but think that behind the project a lot of cool dudes get payed too. Programers, designers, technitians, etc.

I do care where my money goes but i know that what goes around comes around $$$

TrekExpert TrekExpert said:

I never use those manuals anyway... They only have maybe one page of useful information (controls) for the 50 or so pages. Them being printed in with both English and french doesn't help either,

ramonsterns said:

TrekExpert said:

I never use those manuals anyway... They only have maybe one page of useful information (controls) for the 50 or so pages. Them being printed in with both English and french doesn't help either,

You most've bought the wrong games, then.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Captaincranky said:

And how many trees are going to die in support of your pansy a** royal wedding? Just make sure all those gilt edged invitations are printed on "recycled" paper, so that the hypocrisy doesn't go national.

Be careful of falling into the stereotypical trap that all Englishman drink tea and worship portraits of the royal family. (Although I do enjoy the former)

That aside, Sadly i'm not on the list of either the guests or the servants so i can't answer your question.

Lurker101 Said:

Rimmer?

Correct!...Although i will point out that i don't use that method myself. (it requires some skill that i just can't master )

TrekExpert TrekExpert said:

You most've bought the wrong games, then.

If you know of a game manual that is actual a decent read I would like to hear it...

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Well boys and girls, I simply can't fathom most of your responses to this topic.

The most of the time you're railing about how "new games suck, that's why we download, (steal) them, because they're not worth paying for"!

Then you spend time in the hardware forums trying to figure out if you need an 850 or 1000 watt PSU because you "like to play your games with everything on high". (Yeah, you're that self important). Who cares about how much electricity that new GPU uses. Does the juice come from fossil fuel power plants? More than likely!

Then you spend the rest of the time with faces buried in some piece of crap "smart phone".

You don't aspire to built anything, grow anything, plant anything, or manufacturer anything, meanwhile consuming everything you possibly can that comes from countries with virtually no environmental protection standards.

Then everybody wants to be in, "IT"! Didn't anybody ever tell you that you can't "eat information". No wonder Obama has to print more money on a regular basis, to bail you dullards out.

But yet, when some suit at EA rams a bunch "eco-crap" down your throats, you swallow it, hook, line, and sinker.

You talk out both sides of your mouths, neither of which makes any sense whatsoever.

Here's a blinding revelation, "video games aren't a necessity"! (paper instructions or not). You're so addicted you can't think straight.

Guest said:

Captaincranky may be as irritable as his name implies, but the act of being objective is sometimes difficult... I think he is quite accurate in the ideas he presents.

---Qriist

Guest said:

Addendum to the above:

I am quite the avid gamer myself and I do enjoy reading manuals. I have a gray attitude towards piracy but I still buy the ones I feel deserve it.

For my part, if I am not saving any money over the 60 dollar price tag on something I fairly regularly buy then by golly I want some physical substance to it.

Lurker101 said:

Not exactly the most eloquent argument you've ever produced cranky, but you are right. If any of this lot every got raped, they'd end up feeling all happy and joyous that somebody finds them attractive, blissfully unaware of the long and hard being forced up their tight and smelly.

But, I'd rather address the argument about manuals being pointless, crappy and/or useless.

For the most part, they are. Then again, the same could be said for most books, comics, movies, music, games, cars and just about anything else. A lot of manuals are three pages of what your system should look like, two or three pages about the games controls (usually the first of which is a picture of the input device) and a page or two for the legal and credits. Some games don't even give you that, but at least you've gotten a small booklet with a smidgen of artwork with your purchase.

Not all manuals are like that though. The Sim City 4 manual, for example is thick enough to kill a small rodent, even though it's all in English. Taking the time to illustrate and carefully explain all of the features and mechanics within the game, enabling you to play a smarter, more informed game.

The Rumble Roses manual for the PS2 not only gives you a detailed guide on how to get started, how to fight and perform special moves, but also comes with a person-per-page illustrated biography for each character.

Metal Gear Solid games included a short comic strip (on average 8 pages long) to teach players the controls for various situations, alongside a very detailed manual on how to perform most techniques and detailed descriptions on most in-game items.

I could keep going with examples of well presented, well written manuals for the next couple of hours if any of you wanted, and if I could be bothered. Not all manuals are horrible and bland and if we ditch gaming manuals completely, I think we'll lose something special and unique for the sake of profit-pinching and fake eco-mentalism.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

You mean physical game boxes are still produced?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

You mean physical game boxes are still produced?
Yeah, just not by "Limewire".

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