Global games industry unites for climate change with new initiative, Playing for the Planet

A number of video game companies have banded together for Playing for the Planet, a United Nations pledge asking the games industry to make a formal commitment to contribute to the efforts of the UN Environment committee.

“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,” wrote Jim Ryan, President & CEO, SIE, in a PlayStation blog post. “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 (which equals the CO2 emissions for the nation of Denmark in 2017).

“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 (which we estimate can be achieved at around 0.5 W). If just one million users enable this feature, it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.”

Ryan added SIE will complete a carbon footprint assessment of its gaming services, and report the “energy efficiency measures” used at its data centres. He also stressed the company will work “with the industry and climate experts to develop reference information for use by game developers that wish to include sustainability themes in games”. 

“Green Man Gaming has a direct and pretty personal relationship with hundreds of millions of gamers globally,” added Paul Sulyok, CEO and founder of Green Man Gaming. “Many of us really care about what we are doing to the planet. We know we’ve all got to face up and fess up, and take more positive action. 

“We’ve always beaten the drum for digital downloads – so plastic-free gaming – and we’re now trying to up our game to do the best we can to support the planet.  These may be small acorns, but if we all rally round, it will make a much-needed impact.”

Green Man Gaming has similarily pledged to work with its community “on a major reforestation initiative”. The commitment – which is to lead a restoration programme by planting trees, starting in the first quarter of 2020 – will see GMG partner with a certified tree-planting organisation, kicking off the programme in the UK first before expanding into international markets from 2021. 

The e-commerce and technology business said will raise funds through the sales of selected games on Green Man Gaming’s e-commerce platform, which it says will result in an estimated additional 200 acres of new trees in year one of the project.

Other companies signed up to the new initiative include Microsoft, Google Stadia, Ubisoft, Sports Interactive, Twitch, Niantic, Supercell, Playmob, Rovio, Sybo, Space Ape, Wild Works, Creative Mobile, Reliance Games, iDreamSky, E-Line Media, Strange Loop, Pixelberry, and Internet of Elephants.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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