- It is convenient to have a paper manual to be read anywhere, anytime without having to sit in front of the computer. I have read countless of manuals to/from work, in the bath, before going to bed etc. It won´t be bad for my eyes.
- Proper manuals should be exhaustive and well written. Examples of good manuals where the ones supplied by Microprose once in a time (Gunship,F-19 Stealth Fighter, Pirates, Civilization etc). They add great value to the game. I was quite frustrated that Civilization V was the first game in the series that was not supplied with a paper manual.
- To have the paper manual is also one reason to buy the game and not get a pirated version. That was always my standpoint in the 80s/90s. Advanced and good games are worth the money if not for the game itself but for the manual supplied. There was this added value in having a fine box with a thick manual. Today you get a sheet or four language leaflet for most games.
- I could rationalise away thick manuals for lighthearted games and FPS/Cinematic adventures etc but not for strategy- and roleplaying games.
- Even though digital manuals does not incur printing or distribution costs they could still be very short even though one thinks they would have all the space available to describe spells and skills or give complete descriptions of mechanics etc. I don´t want to have to look up dev journals to get that kind of info.
Now my antagonists will say...
- You have to think about the environment. Do you know how many trees is required to ship a manual with every game around the world ?
- The game would be more expensive with the manual. This is a way to keep down the costs.
- You get the PDF manual of the game included. Stop complaining!
- You just have to print the included digital version!