Ubisoft is not Captian Planet

Posted by Evercaptor (391 posts) -

 


http://www.destructoid.com/ubisoft-kills-manuals-launches-eco-friendly-packaging-171441.phtml
You should have a quick scan of that article by Dale North( Destructoid.com) first if you don't quite know what I'm talking about.

Ubisoft (famous for the likes of Rayman, Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed) recently announced  a plan to "go green" with it's packaging in games. This means redesigned cases on the PC and the removal of manuals from console games in favour of adding the manuals digitally to the disc. I see a problem with this on a couple of different levels, but it's also, another voice can't hurt if you're trying to prove a point.

Every game is somebody's first game


It's a little bit arrogant to think "heh, I can do this, why can't everyone else?" and so this is why manuals exist in the first place. While the intricacies of the button layouts, "old tropes" of video games and the secret code of menus is practically second nature to anyone seeing this, we are most certainly in the minority. I think to my dad, not yesterday astounded by my mastery of control, eking out more masterful combos and features than he's been able to get out of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 15 hours, in my first 15 minutes.

He didn't know you could go first-person/zoom-in by clicking the right stick

To me, it makes sense that clicking the camera control does something new with the camera, but it didn't occur to my dad that it was a button because nobody told him. And nobody told him because the game doesn't demand it. My dad isn't the kind of person to ever give up, but if he gets stuck, he reads the manual, because he learns this type of thing. It would never occur to him to assume it was on the disc.

Not all gamers are us super-hardcore types. My dad is typical of the general gaming populace; casual.

It's about standards

Loving games isn't a pre-requisite to work in GAME or GameStation in England. It helps, but half the staff have never owned a single game where I work. They'll serve you, they know what the consoles do (kind of) and they have a list of 4-5 games coming out memorised, but they won't know who mega man, master chief or solid snake are. More likely they're going to think you're coming on to them, poorly.

Now looking through the comments, I see you Americans with your game stores don't have too much of these, but in the UK, when you trade in a game, you get turned away if there is no manual. If these standards change, good people will be turned away, or more likely, games that should have a manual, will lose them because of Ubisoft's greed.

Implementation

In an era where these gorgeous HD games are fucking even basic control up, you know for a fact the manual will be on some hard to reach screen that you'll have to quit out of the game to find. It will be on the main menu booting you out of the game, be in text far too small to read on an SD TV, in blocks that hurt your eyes because of the brightness contrast and in a font you despise. You could have gotten the special edition with the booklet in, but that was an extra £10 for a steel case and 4 pages of legalese and a diagram of a controller on the back because it was the collector's edition.

Pessimism? Maybe. Unfounded? Not quite.

The alternative is a downloadable PDF, but this again is a problem. Everyone without the internet, raise your hand. Awesome. Looks like EVERYONE has the internet then. No problems here. I can't see a single person without the internet out there. What do you mean, those people who can't read this don't know to object? Pshaw.

There are easier ways to go green

1) Stop requiring an internet access to play your PC games. What do you think powers the internet, dumb-asses?
2) CD sleeves use less plastic than DVD boxes. FACT.
3) Flying out game developers to have a sit-in game session creates more CO2 than game manuals' production.
4) Stop having children; Children make TONS of CO2 in their lifetime (it's called breathing) and are more of a hazard, due to overpopulation.
5) French people are smug pricks; unrelated, but I've never met one who wasn't. I've seen some cute German girls though. and Russian accents are the bomb.
6) Let every developer work from home. Transport creates CO2 unless they all walk to work, in which case, well done Ubisoft employees.

Sigh...

It's easy to see why Ubisoft is doing this; tax cuts for going greener and less costs from producing less product, but manuals are a mainstay of gaming and have been for as long as anything. It makes me annoyed to see it being cut for sheer greed under the thin guise of altruism.

Man up, Ubisoft, and leave us the ability to flick through, thumb, make notes in, ignore and pour over our manuals.

Written to Danny Barronowsky's "The Teaching Robot" ( dBsoundworks.com)
#1 Posted by Evercaptor (391 posts) -

 


http://www.destructoid.com/ubisoft-kills-manuals-launches-eco-friendly-packaging-171441.phtml
You should have a quick scan of that article by Dale North( Destructoid.com) first if you don't quite know what I'm talking about.

Ubisoft (famous for the likes of Rayman, Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed) recently announced  a plan to "go green" with it's packaging in games. This means redesigned cases on the PC and the removal of manuals from console games in favour of adding the manuals digitally to the disc. I see a problem with this on a couple of different levels, but it's also, another voice can't hurt if you're trying to prove a point.

Every game is somebody's first game


It's a little bit arrogant to think "heh, I can do this, why can't everyone else?" and so this is why manuals exist in the first place. While the intricacies of the button layouts, "old tropes" of video games and the secret code of menus is practically second nature to anyone seeing this, we are most certainly in the minority. I think to my dad, not yesterday astounded by my mastery of control, eking out more masterful combos and features than he's been able to get out of Batman: Arkham Asylum in 15 hours, in my first 15 minutes.

He didn't know you could go first-person/zoom-in by clicking the right stick

To me, it makes sense that clicking the camera control does something new with the camera, but it didn't occur to my dad that it was a button because nobody told him. And nobody told him because the game doesn't demand it. My dad isn't the kind of person to ever give up, but if he gets stuck, he reads the manual, because he learns this type of thing. It would never occur to him to assume it was on the disc.

Not all gamers are us super-hardcore types. My dad is typical of the general gaming populace; casual.

It's about standards

Loving games isn't a pre-requisite to work in GAME or GameStation in England. It helps, but half the staff have never owned a single game where I work. They'll serve you, they know what the consoles do (kind of) and they have a list of 4-5 games coming out memorised, but they won't know who mega man, master chief or solid snake are. More likely they're going to think you're coming on to them, poorly.

Now looking through the comments, I see you Americans with your game stores don't have too much of these, but in the UK, when you trade in a game, you get turned away if there is no manual. If these standards change, good people will be turned away, or more likely, games that should have a manual, will lose them because of Ubisoft's greed.

Implementation

In an era where these gorgeous HD games are fucking even basic control up, you know for a fact the manual will be on some hard to reach screen that you'll have to quit out of the game to find. It will be on the main menu booting you out of the game, be in text far too small to read on an SD TV, in blocks that hurt your eyes because of the brightness contrast and in a font you despise. You could have gotten the special edition with the booklet in, but that was an extra £10 for a steel case and 4 pages of legalese and a diagram of a controller on the back because it was the collector's edition.

Pessimism? Maybe. Unfounded? Not quite.

The alternative is a downloadable PDF, but this again is a problem. Everyone without the internet, raise your hand. Awesome. Looks like EVERYONE has the internet then. No problems here. I can't see a single person without the internet out there. What do you mean, those people who can't read this don't know to object? Pshaw.

There are easier ways to go green

1) Stop requiring an internet access to play your PC games. What do you think powers the internet, dumb-asses?
2) CD sleeves use less plastic than DVD boxes. FACT.
3) Flying out game developers to have a sit-in game session creates more CO2 than game manuals' production.
4) Stop having children; Children make TONS of CO2 in their lifetime (it's called breathing) and are more of a hazard, due to overpopulation.
5) French people are smug pricks; unrelated, but I've never met one who wasn't. I've seen some cute German girls though. and Russian accents are the bomb.
6) Let every developer work from home. Transport creates CO2 unless they all walk to work, in which case, well done Ubisoft employees.

Sigh...

It's easy to see why Ubisoft is doing this; tax cuts for going greener and less costs from producing less product, but manuals are a mainstay of gaming and have been for as long as anything. It makes me annoyed to see it being cut for sheer greed under the thin guise of altruism.

Man up, Ubisoft, and leave us the ability to flick through, thumb, make notes in, ignore and pour over our manuals.

Written to Danny Barronowsky's "The Teaching Robot" ( dBsoundworks.com)
#2 Posted by oldschool (7264 posts) -

Game makers are completely missing the point as usual.  The game manual can be an incentive to buy the legitimate product, by making the manual a "must have" art piece in itself.  Downgrading the product to a commodity level just removes the "special" element attached to games.  Next we will have very basic discs with no colour, just a name - as well.  Stupid if you ask me as it is a missed opportunity.

#3 Posted by Whisperkill (2969 posts) -

...no?

#4 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -

The mentality that every game is someone's first so you have to pander to no hopers is bizarre and holding the whole industry back. If your dad didn't know ho to do a combo, a manual isn't going to help him. Maybe if he pressed the start button and saw an option for a moves list, that would be a good option but is he really going to get stuck and go read the manual for help? Similarly, why cater for the SDTV crowd? It's the HD era and with every other industry moving forward in terms of definition, video games should surely be at the forefront.
 
The part about being turned away if you don't have a manual is utter bullshit. There's a whole section in the GAME upstairs in Liverpool's disgusting Clayton Square shopping centre devoted to second hand games that don't even have a case and there's plenty of traded in games in Gamestation, hmv, etc that come with a mark down because they don't have the manual, so yeah, I can see people getting reduced prices on trade ins but if you're trading games in to make money, you don't deserve it in the first place. 
 
Your ideas about going green are terrible, especially when you try and be funny with it: 
1) It's not like the internet is going to be turned off or running smoother if people don't have to be connected to it. 
2) CD sleeves use less plastic but crack and break easier. 
3) So you expect the entire industry to start communicating over the internet? 'What do you think powers the internet, dumb-asses?' Alternatively, it's not as if that will mean any less planes in the sky so it's not going to be much of a difference anyway. 
4) True, but it'll never happen. 
5) Are you trying to tell me you're neither smug nor a prick? Come on. 
6) Again, that would have a negligible impact on actual CO2 emissions and how are they meant to brainstorm, share files etc? The internet? 'What do you think powers the internet, dumb-asses?'

#5 Edited by ProfessorEss (7382 posts) -
@oldschool said:

" Game makers are completely missing the point as usual.  The game manual can be an incentive to buy the legitimate product, by making the manual a "must have" art piece in itself.  Downgrading the product to a commodity level just removes the "special" element attached to games.  Next we will have very basic discs with no colour, just a name - as well.  Stupid if you ask me as it is a missed opportunity. "

Yeah I don't miss the manual as much as the trend.
How long before we're buying unpainted disks in a plastic sleeve?
How long after that before we're paying 10 dollars more for an unpainted disk in a plastic sleeve? 

Like Evercaptor mentioned: I bet Ubisoft will still be flying people all over the world to promote these games and printing out millions of "buy it new" code coupons to put in the boxes. I do appreciate the idea of "going green" but they have to do more than remove manuals to convince me.
#6 Posted by S0ndor (2716 posts) -

Can't wait for the day that we all move on to digital distribution. Also, the reason your dad wouldn't look for the manual on the disc is because it isn't common practice. Once it is and it is advertised on the DVD cover, it will become second nature.
 
I'm getting a strong "Change is bad" vibe from your post.

#7 Posted by luce (4045 posts) -

I love me some game manuals but the last companies to do it right were Square enix, Atlus and Capcom.
 
Personally i like them as part of the presentation. I know it costs a lot to hire a graphic designer and print 40 or so pages in color for something most won't read anyway..but it matters to me
 
This is why I love Atlus

#8 Posted by ryanwho (12082 posts) -

Im sure the OP is doing more to help the environment than Ubi here and not just bitching about this for no reason.

#9 Posted by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -

Manuals are pointless and nobody cares if there gone.  You're only complaining because  they are going, I doubt anyone actually cares, it's just a stupid gut reaction.  Seriously when was the last time you looked at a manual?

#10 Posted by Evercaptor (391 posts) -
@HandsomeDead:  Clayton Square's not classy, obviously, try the L1 store sometime, they're much more fun.  also, taking in those games is technically against GAME standards...
I understand why you think that pandering to people who don't usually game is a bad thing, but I disagree with you. You'd be annoyed if your IKEA furniture didn't have instructions. Sure they're a lot thinner nowadays but don't tell me you never look at them, they're fun to peruse and handy for storing your notes, like secret locations, little easter eggs and the like.even if you don't use them, some of us still do.
also, I appreciate you taking the time to read my (rather reationary) post as hard as you did ^^
@S0ndor: It's not a "change is bad" thing, but more of  a bitterness for them taking away something that is justified to sit in the case with the disc. As ProfesserEss said, "where does this end?" Because you know full well that they're not going to pass that saving onto you.
#11 Posted by PeasForFees (2411 posts) -

Xbox 360 "Eco" Cases are shit, Eco in general is shit. The majority of manuals today are utter rubbish, but it at least shows some effort to justify retail. 

#12 Posted by gunslingerNZ (1904 posts) -

Manuals are unnecessary. Even when I was a kid playing games for the first time I didn't have the patience for them and just stumbled on through pressing buttons until I found out what they did.
 
Besides for people who are really new to games there are still in game manuals or better yet a really solid tutorial system to introduce you to the controls.

#13 Posted by Jimbo (9815 posts) -

There's nothing in (most) modern game manuals that you couldn't just put in an in-game tutorial or a codex.  Games consist of about two or three systems now, and those systems are ridiculously simple (crouch behind something, shoot back, etc.)  It's not like you ever need to refer back to the manual to get a reminder on how 'Tax Rate A' affects the standard of living for 'Citizen Type B' or whatever.
 
It'll be interesting to see if they lower the price of their games (they won't), or if they give the little extra profit to 'green' charities (maybe?).  I don't think you can really claim you're doing it for the environment, if you're actually just doing it to cut costs.

#14 Posted by Alexander (1721 posts) -

I'd agree that there are no need to manuals in most cases. But this is just a cost-cutting move by Ubisoft, I wish they wouldn't go claiming they care about the planet.

#15 Posted by Kowbrainz (923 posts) -
@ArchScabby said:
" Manuals are pointless and nobody cares if there gone.  You're only complaining because  they are going, I doubt anyone actually cares, it's just a stupid gut reaction.  Seriously when was the last time you looked at a manual? "
I dunno, just the other day? For Persona 3: FES, for the record because I didn't want to look in a place for information where I could easily be spoiled, and because it was a genuinely well-put together booklet with good information for beginners. They're not always helpful for all games but I don't think the lack of a manual should become a standard.
#16 Posted by Evercaptor (391 posts) -
@Kowbrainz said:
I dunno, just the other day? For Persona 3: FES, for the record because I didn't want to look in a place for information where I could easily be spoiled, and because it was a genuinely well-put together booklet with good information for beginners. They're not always helpful for all games but I don't think the lack of a manual should become a standard."

More than anything this is what I was trying to get at. If you look at how well integrated this kind of information is in context of the gameplay (notably in Jeff's pokemon quicklook) having the information not only to hand, but in a spoiler-safe environment is usually really helpful.  
#18 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -
@Evercaptor: They just put those games in a generic box and they're at a real marked down price. 
Comparing a game to IKEA furniture seems a bit rough. I wouldn't be happy if it came with no because it's something that needs to be constructed. Putting Part A into Part C by mistake could potentially break whatever it was I'd bought and if I needed instructions to tell me what a screwdriver does, then I shouldn't really be constructing anything in the first place.

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