If you’re worried about the future of our planet, you’ll soon be able to feel a little bit less guilty whenever you pick up a gamepad and start playing video games. Sony, Microsoft, Google, Ubisoft and many more have joined up to a new United Nations gaming climate change initiative, Playing for the Planet.
Sony have gone into most detail so far, discussing how the PlayStation 4’s become more energy efficient over time and how the Suspend-to-RAM feature that lets you put the console into standby has helped reduce the amount of power consumption the hardware has. They reckon they’ve reduced or avoided carbon emissions to the tune of 16 million metric tons through this, and over the next 10 years they hope to have bumped that figure up to one whole Denmark 2017 edition, or 29 million metric tons.
Looking to the future, and the PlayStation 5 will be even more power efficient in a similar Rest mode, which they estimate they will be able to bring all the way down to just 0.5W. That’s impressive, with the original PlayStation 4 able to sit at Rest mode with an active game at around 4W, and this being further reduced to just 1.7W with the latest models, as per Sony’s energy efficiency statement.
By contrast, Microsoft have a lot more to do, with the Xbox One X taking 10W to remain in its ‘Instant on’ mode, according to Anandtech. Microsoft themselves don’t have a spec sheet for power consumption, but that’s substantially higher, and hopefully Project Scarlett’s system and software design can take this more into account.
What they’re focussed on is carbon neutrality for the console manufacture. They’re looking to reduce supply chain emissions by 30% by 2030, and will certify 825,000 Xbox consoles as carbon neutral in a pilot programme.
Across the board, companies are either looking to reduce waste, integrate recycled materials, or simply to include climate change conscious themes into their games. The full list of those committed are Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Google Stadia, Ubisoft, Sports Interactive, Twitch, Niantic, Supercell, Playmob, Rovio, Sybo, Space Ape, Wild Works, Green Man Gaming, Creative Mobile, Reliance Games, iDreamSky, E-Line Media, Strange Loop, Pixelberry and Internet of Elephants.
Update: Clarifying that Sony are talking about “Rest mode” for all figures quoted in this article.