The times they are a changin’. EA Sports, beginning with Fight Night Champion as you may have noticed, have begun to exclude manuals from their titles. EA was rather notorious for cheapening the paper manual, ditching color printing, and barely offering any information of note.
The move is supposedly going to help the “green” movement, when in reality, it’s going to save EA a ton on printing costs. Sure, the cost per unit is slim at best and the savings so meager you won’t see a general price drop, but add it all up over the course of millions of copies a year, and that’s some hefty bank.
Browsing comments around the web, most seem indifferent to the change, citing that manuals have been degrading in quality for years, which seems like a meager excuse at best. Instead of fighting for better material to go along with our $60 game purchases, we accept that what we get is awful and move on. Nintendo is one of the few who seem to care with any depth, providing fantastic, colorful manuals with concise instructions on every possible situation.
Manuals may have less weight than they used to, the drawings in classic books typically representing what you were supposed to see on screen despite the technology limitation. Now, that’s not needed, but it’s still another piece of gaming history going the way of the dinosaur, another sign that this industry could less about tradition, it’s past, and its consumers. Looking ahead, this will be an irritation for collectors who are trying to piece together what had manuals and what didn’t, but then again, current industry players could care less about preservation either.