Video games are a massive industry, and as such the industry leaves a substantial environmental influence on the planet. As part of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York this year, a group of game companies including Sony and Microsoft in association with the UN Environment committee aims to work towards decreasing the industry’s footprint.
Identified as the Playing for the Planet Alliance, the 21 games corporations include the major platform holders like Microsoft, Google Stadia and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), and, large publishers like Ubisoft, mobile studios like Rovio (Angry Birds) and Niantic Inc (Pokémon Go), streaming platform Twitch, and a host of others like Creative Mobile, Green Man Gaming, E-Line Media, iDreamSky, Internet of Elephants, Reliance Games, Pixelberry, Space Ape, Sports Interactive, Strange Loop, Supercell Sybo, WildWorks, and Playmob.
The ways these companies are chipping in differ, including decreasing and offsetting carbon emissions, moving to more sustainable materials and processes, raising the consciousness of concerns by the games themselves, and plans like planting trees. According to the UN Environment, these efforts will lessen CO2 emissions by 30 million tonnes by 2030 along with the addition of millions of new trees, and train millions of gamers.
With the PlayStation 5 on the possibility, SIE says it intends to make the new console work more resourcefully. When putting off in rest mode, the PS5 will be designed to utilize much less power – the company calculates about 0.5 W, a massive decline from the 8.5 W currently burned up by a PS4 on standby. SIE will also evaluate its processes’ carbon footprint to find ways to progress.
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Microsoft says that its business functions have been carbon neutral since 2012, and now it aims to encompass that to its products. The initial step will be a model program that will make 825,000 Xbox One consoles carbon neutral. The company has also set the goal of reducing carbon releases in its supply chain by 30 percent by 2030.
Ubisoft aims to acquire materials from more environmentally-responsible factories, and Sega’s Sports Interactive last week declared that it would be switching to completely recyclable cardboard cases for its games. Other companies in the Playing for the Planet Alliance will balance the carbon emissions of their studios and even their players and will integrate more environmental subjects into games themselves.
As crucial as it is for individual people to play their part to help the environment, large companies are still responsible for the massive majority of carbon releases and other environmental effects. Thus, it is inspiring to see this kind of action taking place at the corporate level.