Video game companies are rallying together to try to save the planet. The United Nations Environment Program has announced a new “Playing for the Planet Alliance,” which sees 21 major game companies–including Sony and Microsoft–work together to share best practices for becoming more environmentally friendly. The companies are also quickly putting their words into action, as Sony’s PlayStation 5 will be more environmentally friendly as part of the initiative, while Microsoft is launching a pilot program to make 825,000 carbon neutral Xbox consoles.
In total, the efforts undertaken by the 21 game companies is estimated to result in a “30 million ton reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030.” Additionally, “millions” of trees will be planted, while game companies will enact practices to do better in the areas of “energy management, packaging, and device recycling.” A press release from the UN also mentions how some future games will be designed specifically with new “green nudges.” It’s unclear what this means, however.
The participating companies and platforms include Sony, Microsoft, Google Stadia, Rovio, Supercell, Sybo, Ubisoft, and Wildworks. Nintendo is the only major platform-holder that is missing.
Nintendo does, however, already operate an Environment Committee at the company’s headquarters in Japan, while each of its overseas subsidiaries have their own committees that look into environmental impact in their regions.
“The video games industry has the ability to engage, inspire and captivate the imaginations of billions of people across the world. This makes them a hugely important partner in addressing the climate emergency,” United Nations Environment Program executive director Inger Andersen said in a statement. “We are encouraged by the commitment of these gaming companies, which shows recognition that we all must play our role in the global effort to lower carbon emissions and effect real change towards sustainability.”
As for the carbon neutral Xbox, Microsoft says it will produce 825,000 of the consoles, though it’s unclear what version of the system this might be. Whatever the case, these will be the “first gaming consoles to be carbon neutral.” This is only a test program, Microsoft said, but the company is also looking to see “what we can do to further reduce and neutralize carbon across devices in the future.”
Microsoft’s business operations have been carbon neutral since 2012, so the new effort on a carbon neutral Xbox is an extension of that program.
The United Nations Environment Program said in its statement that it is possible for educational games to reach the masses, even if it hasn’t happened yet. In response to this, the UN said some of its Alliance members will host “design-jams” where developers will explore ideas to make games that are both fun and educational regarding environmental impact.
Here is what some of the member companies will do to help save the planet:
- Sony — The PS5 will have a “low power” suspend mode, which is one part of Sony’s plan to have more energy effience technology overall. Sony will also “assess and report” their carbon footprint.
- Microsoft — The company will make 825,000 Xbox consoles that are carbon neutral as part of a pilot program. These will be the first game consoles in history to have no carbon impact on the earth. Additionally, Microsoft is releasing a “Built the Better World” program in Minecraft to help people learn more about what they can do to help the cause.
- Google Stadia — There will be a Sustainable Game Development guide for developers to help them implement “green nudges” into the gameplay; but again, it’s unclear what this means.
- Supercell (Clash of Clans) — Will work on carbon impact initiatives to help offset the carbon impact of players charging their mobile devices.
- Wild Works (Animal Jam) — The studio will “integrate restoration elements” in their games. They will also plant trees around world.
- Green Man Gaming — Will also plant trees.
- Ubisoft — The company will launch in-game “green themes” in unspecified titles, and will also look to source materials from “eco-friendly” factories.
- Sports Interactive (Football Manager) — Will starting using a recycling alternative for future Football Manager games that will eliminate 20 tons of plastic packaging.
- Creative Mobile — Their game ZooCraft will transition to becoming a “conservation-focused game”
- Reliance Games (Little Singham) — The studio will offer in-game events across India.
- iDreamSky — The studio will put “green nudges” in their games.
- E-Line Media (Never Alone), Strange Loop (Eco), and Internet of Elephants (Safari Central) — The companies will “share their expertise of making high impact environmentally oriented games into the Alliance.”
- Twitch — The company says it will use their streaming service to “spread this message [about climate change] to the global gaming community.”
- Niantic (Pokemon Go) — Will “engage their community to act around sustainability issues.”
Full list of Playing for the Planet Alliance members:
- Creative Mobile
- E-Line Media
- Google Stadia
- Green Man Gaming
- Internet of Elephants
- Niantic Inc
- Reliance Games
- Space Ape
- Sports Interactive
- Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Strange Loop
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Author: Eddie Makuch