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Game publishers detail green credentials

Ubisoft, Sony and EA all found to be making positive moves on environmental issues

Following Ubisoft's decision earlier this year to remove paper manuals from games boxes in order to reduce waste, the environmental credentials of other leading publishers have been examined by Eurogamer.

The site spoke to a number of publishers in order to gauge which had the most exemplary green policies, discovering that most were, at the very least, using more environmentally-friendly packaging for their games.

Activision Blizzard, the world's largest publisher, said that it wasn't planning to scrap paper manuals but added that environmentally-friendly packaging was used "whenever possible".

The company uses Amaray's EcoLite DVD cases for Xbox 360, Wii, DS and PS2 games and said that it expected to add PS3 and PSP to that list in 2010. EcoLite cases are 20 per cent lighter than normal and fully recyclable.

It also uses soy-based inks for printing, while all publisher peripherals are tested for toxic substances and materials to make sure they comply with laws.

EA told Eurogamer that it had been using the Biobox for its games since August 2008. The boxes are made from over 50 per cent recycled plastic and have a bio additive that breaks the plastic down if buried in landfill. The publisher is also looking to reduce the weight of the box this year.

It doesn't plan to remove manuals from full-priced game boxes, but removed them from budget PC games a year ago.

Sony offered the most detailed report on its green policies and the company was also found to be the most eco-friendly platform holder in a Greenpeace report published in December 2009.

The company said that the PlayStation 3 now uses 55 per cent less energy than it did at launch. "We are also working on further reductions for the future," it added. Revisions to PS2 hardware reduced power consumption by 70 per cent.

Sony has boycotted the use of harmful plastics and has created the "first and largest" pan-European recycling program to collect "waste consoles" from houses. It also helps to make chairs from recycled plastic, although didn't comment on scrapping paper manuals.

Nintendo also confirmed it wasn't planning to move away from paper instruction manuals, but said that it was committed to protecting the environment, despite finishing bottom in Greenpeace's report.

It promised it would design for "recyclability" going forward and look into the "degradability" of products. And "every effort" was going into reducing energy and resource consumption of packaging materials, it added, while a pan-European recycling initiative had been begun by the company.

Microsoft didn't comment on its environmental measures although it does, on its website, outline a range of initiatives.

Notably, the number of broken Xbox 360 consoles that are recycled has risen to 28 per cent in 2010 compared to just 2 per cent in 2005 and consoles sold now use less power than the launch models.

"We have reduced the energy use of the console during active game play by over 30 per cent," the company says on its website. "We have banned the use of PVC in the packaging, reduced the packaging size of the original Xbox by approximately 30 per cent, and employed the sustainable EnviroShell product."

SEGA, Codemasters, Capcom and 2K Games all declined to comment on their individual green policies.

Ubisoft announced its decision earlier this year to scrap paper game manuals in exchange for digital ones and to switch to environmentally-responsible DVD cases for all of its future PC titles.

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