By Sharon Atieno
In a move that will result to 30 million tonne reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, major players in the video games industry have committed to harness the power of their platforms to take action in response to the climate crisis.
This commitment from 21 companies including Sony Interactive Entertainment, Microsoft, Google Stadia, Rovio, Supercell, Sybo, Ubisoft and WildWorks among others under the banner of Playing for the Planet Alliance, at the sidelines of the ongoing Climate Action Summit will be achieved through planting of millions of trees, new “green nudges” in game design and improvements to energy management, packaging, and device recycling.
“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,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “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.”
Sony Interactive Entertainment will unveil new progress and plans to utilize energy efficient technology (on-track to avoid 29 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, to introduce low power suspend mode for next generation PlayStation, to assess and report their carbon footprint and to educate and inspire the gaming community to take action on climate change.
Microsoft will announce the expansion of its existing operational commitment to carbon neutrality, established in 2012, into its devices and gaming work. It will set a new target to reduce its supply chain emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 – including end-of-life for devices – and to certify 825,000 Xbox consoles as carbon neutral in a pilot programme. In addition, Microsoft will engage gamers in sustainability efforts in real life through the Minecraft its ‘Build a Better World’ initiative, which has seen players take more than 20 million in-game actions.
While Google Stadia -set to launch later in the year- will produce a new Sustainable Game Development Guide as well as funding research into how “green nudges” can be effectively incorporated into game play, Supercell (Clash of Clans) will offset the entire footprint of their community.
Rovio (Angry Birds) has offset the carbon impact from their players charging their devices, and Sybo (Subway Surfer) and Space Ape (Fastlane) will offset 200 per cent of their studio and their gamers mobile energy use. Guidance documents will assist other companies to take similar actions.
Wild Works (Animal Jam) commits to integrating restoration elements in games and, like Green Man Gaming, they will focus on restoring some of the world’s forests with major tree-planting initiatives. Ubisoft will develop in-game green themes and will source materials from eco-friendly factories and Sports Interactive will eliminate 20 tonnes of packaging by switching from plastic to a recycled alternative for all future Football Manager releases.
Creative Mobile’s ZooCraft will evolve into a conservation-focused game with Reliance Games (Little Singham) generating awareness in the fastest growing mobile gaming market by creating awareness with kids to make them ambassadors for climate change with in-game events and initiatives across India. The biggest independent gaming platform in China, iDreamSky has committed to putting green nudges into its games.
Moreover, E-Line Media (Never Alone, Beyond Blue), Strange Loop (Eco) and Internet of Elephants (Safari Central) will share their expertise of making high impact environmentally oriented games into the Alliance. As Twitch has committed to utilizing their platform to spread this message to the global gaming community, Niantic Inc (Pokemon Go) committed to engaging their community to act around sustainability issues.