10% of Banished Vault players bought the optional physical manual

The Banished Vault manual

It turns out that gamers really love a manual. In fact, they’re willing to pay an extra £4.99 for a physical one.

Bithell Games has revealed on Twitter (or X, as it’s now called) that 10% of people who bought The Banished Vault also purchased the optional physical game manual.

The beautifully illustrated manual is included with the game in electronic form, but players also had the option of paying $4.99/£4.99 to order a physical version of the booklet from Amazon. And it seems a big portion of players did exactly that.

The manual was put together by a small team who have spent hours on its pages to make sure it’s as easy to follow as it is beautiful. It contains guidance through the tutorials, info on the game’s concepts, a detailed reference section, and plenty of space for note-taking,” said Bithell Games. And indeed the manual is rather beautiful: the lovely black and white artwork that accompanies the text was created by the freelance illustrator Garin.

Mike Bithell, the founder of Bithell Games, responded to the news by saying: “I feel like a lot of days in game dev are about discovering which long held truths are bollocks. Turns out folks never really tired of beautiful game manuals, and we found a way to get one made and shared for a digital release. Expecting a lot of folks to follow this lead.

Clearly, the healthy attach rate for the Banished Vault manual shows there’s still a market for game manuals, which have gradually disappeared over the past couple of decades as distribution has moved from physical to digital, and the instructions for playing games have been incorporated into the games themselves.

But seemingly people still like the idea of physical manuals, even if the game itself is digital only. Perhaps, as Mike Bithell says, more indie developers and publishers will move towards providing optional physical manuals in future, now it’s been shown the demand is there.

Read more: The Banished Vault review: beautifully bleak space strategy

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