Ubisoft's Environmental Drama
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Last month when Ubisoft made the decision to cut their global footprint by getting rid of game manuals from the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 editions of their games, nobody really noticed.
Until now, that is: This month's edition of the Game Informer magazine features a rather blunt article from Andy McNamara, the editor-in-chief of GI, of all people. He didn't seem to like the move very much:
Andy McNamara "Not to sound like Andy Rooney or some consumer monster who isn't Earth-conscious, but I find it hard to believe that game manuals are killing mother Earth when there are about a million other far more grievous offenses taking place each and every second of every day." bolstered Andy during the article.
While yes, he's right, game manuals aren't solely responsible for the situation that our environment is in, it's a commonly-known fact that these "little things" such as removing paper game manuals from cases, can amount to huge impacts when combined with the efforts of other "little things."
According to Ubisoft's press release: "...producing one ton of paper used in Ubisoft’s game manuals consumes an average of two tons of wood from 13 trees, with a net energy of 28 million BTU’s (equivalent to average heating and energy for one home/year), greenhouse gases equivalent of over 6,000 lbs of CO2, and wastewater of almost 15,000 gallons."
Ubisoft says one ton of paper is equivalent to saving one home's heating energy output for a full year. That's doesn't sound like much at first, does it? So let's do some quick math: The average game manual weighs around 1.5-2.5oz; primarily consisting of paper. There are 32,000oz in a single ton. Therefore, 32,000oz divided by 2oz is 16,000 game manuals in a single ton.
Ubisoft's "Just Dance" Now, according to further press releases by Ubisoft, they've sold over 2,000,000 million copies of "Just Dance." Keep in mind this title is for the Wii only, so it would not be affected by this move, which is the exact reason I'm using it as the example. With Just Dance alone, they could have saved the heating costs of 125 homes for a full year.
And remember, that's only accounting for one game. When you factor in the concept that doing eco-friendly moves like this are contagious, then it's only a matter of time before all of the other major gaming companies start doing it too, for all of their titles.
Considering the amount of major games that are released on a yearly basis, that small figure of 125 homes would undoubtedly reach the tens-of-thousands mark, if not more.
Now that sounds worth it to me.
Because that's the whole point of the state of our environment: there is no "single" way to cure it. As you said yourself, "every little bit counts," and if those little bits don't start happening immediately, our planet will be uninhabitable within the next century.
I'll even side with you on the topic of electronic articles like GamerFill are worse for the environment than a recyclable paper magazine like Game Informer (at least until alternative forms of energy power our laptops), but facts are facts: this is a smart move for the environment, and for Ubisoft for that matter.
Sure, you won't have that same kind of "new game" experience when you open the game, (and by the way, that new game smell you were talking about is produced by the shrink wrap) but who really cares? It would be different if we were talking about the disc cover art, but we're not. You will probably never look at that manual ever again after the first time, and above all else, Ubisoft said that the manuals will still be digitally available in the game anyway.
Long story short, I think we can sacrifice the "bummer" of losing our game manuals for a greater good, say, the environment?
All in all, Andy, I do have something positive to say: Nice glasses. Are those Ted Baker? If so, I wear the same kind. (Except mine are blue)
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