by on Sep 23, 2019

Playing for the Planet is a pledge to reduce carbon emissions from the global games industry

PlayStation, Xbox and Ubisoft are among the 21 games companies pledged to Playing for the Planet, an initiative from the United Nations asking that the games industry make a formal commitment to confront climate change in their practices (via MCV). 

Following the Sustainable Development Goals, Playing for the Planet recommends that companies in the games industry avoid wasteful packaging, encourage energy-saving behaviours from their players, and reward each other for pledges or actions that safeguard the environment. Resulting from this, the voluntary commitments would decrease CO2 emissions by 30 million tonnes in ten years, and also plan to plant millions of trees and improve energy management, packaging, and device recycling.

At the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, CEOs from companies like Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Google Stadia, Supercell, Rovio, and Ubisoft vocalised their support for the initiative. Microsoft will target a reduction in its supply chain emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and produce 825,000 carbon neutral Xbox consoles. All future Football Manager games will use recycled materials in their physical editions, as pledged by Sports Interactive, and Ubisoft will follow a similar approach as well as develop environmentally-conscious attitudes in its games. And, mobile developers, Supercell and Rovio will offset the carbon footprint of the Clash of Clans community, and offset he carbon impact from charging mobile phones, respectively. 

In a PlayStation blog post, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan explained how PlayStation has considered the changing climate in its approach to design. ‘At SIE, we have made substantial commitments and efforts to reduce the power consumption of the PS4 by utilizing efficient technologies such as System-on-a-Chip architecture integrating a high-performance graphics processor, die shrink, power scaling, as well as energy-saving modes such as Suspend-to-RAM,’ he said. ‘For context, we estimate the carbon emissions we have avoided to date already amount to almost 16 million metric tons, increasing to 29 million metric tons over the course of the next 10 years.’

‘I am also very pleased to announce the next generation PlayStation console will include the possibility to suspend gameplay with much lower power consumption than PS4,’ he announced. ‘If just one million users enable this feature, it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.’ Ryan also stated that Sony would be working ‘with the industry and climate experts to develop reference information for use by game developers that wish to include sustainability themes in games.’

CEO of mobile developer Sybo, Mathias Gredal Norvig, said, ‘Video gaming might seem like an unlikely ally in this battle, but this Alliance is a critical platform where all of us can play our part to decarbonise our impact and bring the issues into gameplay. I am a strong believer in sparking curiosity and conversations wherever people are, and with 2 billion people playing games, this platform has a reach that’s second to none.’


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