The green movement is great… when it is done for the right reasons. When a company tries passing off their “green initiative” as an honest attempt to save the planet, good for them. When they do it to save a buck, it’s ridiculous.
Such is the case for UbiSoft, who after all of the bad press being tossed their way over the ridiculous PC DRM fiasco, is now removing paper manuals from their games, and going with those hole-filled eco cases DVD and Blu-rays come in (and some 360 games). While it is understood that manuals can be seen as a dinosaur since most games have tutorials and UbiSoft will be using digital manuals, the gamer in the end is getting less but paying the same.
Let’s face it: Having a game manual in front of you to look to briefly in some cases is wonderful. In Street Fighter, instead of pausing the game, finding the menu selection, and bringing it up, you lay out the manual and peek between rounds at the special move list. It keeps the game moving.
Of course, UbiSoft does not make Street Fighter, and this whole “green” PR junk will begin with the PC release of Splinter Cell Conviction, but that is an example of how manuals offer a bit of value. Games are $60. Those few pieces of paper inside the case at least offer perceived value. Now? Not so much. When they bring the price down to say $55, it becomes believable that they are legitimately trying to save the planet. Until then, all they want is an extra buck.