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Video game companies promise action against climate change, but critics say they need to do more Assassin's Creed Odyssey

  • Sony Interactive Entertainment will unveil new progress and plans to use energy-efficient technologies (on track to avoid 29 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030), introduce a shutdown with low power for the next generation of PlayStation, to evaluate and report their carbon footprint, and to train and inspire the gaming community to take action on climate change.
  • Microsoft will announce the expansion of its existing carbon neutral operational commitment, created in 2012, into its gaming devices and devices. It will set a new target to reduce emissions from the supply chain by up to 30% by 2030, including end-of-life device life, and to certify 825,000 Xbox consoles as carbon-neutral in a pilot program. In addition, Microsoft will engage gamers in real-life sustainability efforts through the Minecraft "Build a Better World" initiative, allowing players to take more than 20 million actions in the game.
  • The Google Stadia which is set to launch later this year, will create a new guide to developing sustainable games, as well as funding research into how "green pushes" can be effectively incorporated into the game.
  • Supercell ( Clash of Clans ) will offset the entire footprint of their community, Rovio ( Angry Birds ) offset their carbon footprint by players charging their devices, and Sybo ( Subway Surfer ) and Space Ape ( Fastlane ) will offset 200 percent of their studio and mobile using the energy of their gamers. The guidance documents will help other companies take similar action.
  • Wild Works ( Animal Jam ) will integrate restoration elements into games, and like Green Man Gaming they will focus on restoring some of the world's major forests tree planting initiatives.
  • Ubisoft will develop green themes in the game and extract materials from environmental factories.
  • Sports Interactive will eliminate 20 tonnes of packaging by moving from plastic to a recycled alternative for all future editions of Football Manager.

Commitments by Nintendo, Take-Two Interactive, Activision Blizzard and King – four of the largest gaming companies – are not listed. Kotaku asked these companies for comment on why he had not heard back.

Evan Mills, a retired senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who has studied the effects of games on the environment, applauds. The Alliance's efforts in a press release, while pointing out that Intel, AMD and NVIDIA are absent from it. "The focus seems to be mostly on console space, which makes sense because consoles use a lot more power than board games. That said, missing players are leading manufacturers of desktop and console gaming components, "he said. Gaming companies are often allergic to their position.

From the herd, Microsoft and Sony announced some of the most significant changes. In a blog post earlier this week, Microsoft justified its decision to reduce its supply chain emissions and move from carbon-neutral operations to carbon-neutral products with the statement that "For the sake of science, it should be clear that the goals should be even more ambitious than Paris Accord targets, which are set at up to 2 degrees. "A Sony blog post says the PlayStation 5 will" include the ability to suspend a game with much lower power consumption than the PS4. "If one million users allow it, it adds" would save the equivalent of an average electricity consumption of 1,000 American homes. "

The initiative's report on how games" can deliver to people and the environment "comes out quite easily for companies that make consoles and games – in his words," the fastest growing sub-segment of data usage. "The video game industry is making a tidal advance towards sustainability," the report began before outlining its two core directives: forest restoration and afforestation goals and the "impetus" that drives companies and individuals toward more favorable choices for the planet. "Much of the report deals with how gaming content can be used to make gamers more aware of climate change. The report never mentions the word 'minerals' and does not meaningfully discuss the game's carbon footprint until page 20 of 25.

There is a question of accountability. Commitments are good, but not without follow-up. Although the alliance is made up of many different members, ranging from game developers to retailers, UN environment spokesman Sam Barat Kotaku says that Planet Play says accountability is possible. "The Alliance will facilitate the sharing of best practices by ensuring that commitments are fulfilled and will then engage other key partners in the industry." , Gary Cook, author of Greenpeace's Guide to Greening Electronics, said Kotaku "By and large, no. It's great that you have a mix of companies that say, "Hey, we're worried about climate change and we want to do something," but the actions they take here, for the most part, won't move the needle and aren't reflective. the significant impact that the gaming industry has on the environment. "Cook believes that unless gaming companies acknowledge this significant impact," they are just lip service without actually doing anything. "

Cook's biggest concerns are the production, the suction phase and the impact of waste (less than 20 percent of electronics are recycled, according to a UN University report that affects demand for extracted materials such as cobalt ). Cook cites a recent study claiming that the game accounts for five percent of residential electricity use. And while some companies like Google are looking for a future where the burden of processing shifts from home electronics to the cloud, Cook says, "Your local energy consumption may not have changed, but you consume as much energy as one or three refrigerators Cloud side. "(Google recently made the largest purchase of renewable energy in history, but the impact of cloud games is not mentioned in the Game for the Planet report.)

" Many of their future customers are really concerned about climate change and demand governments and corporations to take action and treat it as an emergency, "Cook told the gaming companies.

Yesterday, when 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg said," How dare you ! ”in the room of international world leader gathered for the UN Summit on Climate, Gen Z's damn future feels closer than ever, as it speaks to the tails of a huge global climate blow, led by millions of young people. Gen Z is stepping up and pushing leaders to doing the right thing at the same time as they are known as the most addictive generation ever.

Gaming companies will need to reflect the concerns of their customer base. At the same time, they should not shift their aspiration to displace their customers' climate catastrophe when companies compile "structure" into "structural change".

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