Embracing Sustainable Practices in Online Gaming
While many companies have historically considered sustainability issues outside their wheelhouse, more are realizing there’s room to maximize profit while simultaneously meeting social and environmental goals – an approach known as triple bottom line.
Studies demonstrate that when people take pride and hope from engaging in eco-friendly actions, they tend to continue these practices over time.
1. Reduce Waste
Many people don’t realize the impact that video games have on the environment, as they require significant amounts of power to operate and generate waste due to packaging and manufacturing.
Gaming industry manufacturers and game developers are actively striving to reduce its environmental footprint. Manufacturers and game developers are creating more energy-efficient hardware while simultaneously optimizing power usage during gameplay, as well as decreasing physical media use with digital downloads being made more widely available – helping decrease waste from plastic and cardboard waste production.
Some of the largest gaming companies are actively striving to become carbon neutral or even carbon negative, by reducing emissions from operations and equipment as well as encouraging their players to do the same.
2. Reduce Energy
Gaming companies are working to reduce their energy footprint through power optimization and developing more energy-efficient hardware, while transitioning away from physical copies that create packaging waste and transitioning towards digital distribution, which eliminates packaging waste altogether.
Gamers can contribute by turning off their consoles when not playing and switching to more efficient power supply units. Gamification that displays how many sustainable actions gamers have taken also helps normalise this behavior.
But placing all the responsibility on gamers will not solve the climate crisis; we must ensure an abundant and affordable supply of clean energy worldwide to allow gamers in California and Senegal alike to play in comfort.
3. Reduce Carbon Footprint
Video gaming has long had an adverse impact on the environment, from metal circuit boards and plastic consoles to the energy consumed to create virtual worlds – gaming has an environmental footprint which must be addressed.
Many gaming companies are taking steps towards becoming carbon neutral or even carbon negative, by employing renewable energy sources, purchasing offsets to offset electricity use, recycling old gaming hardware and disposing of it correctly.
They’re encouraging gamers to reduce their own carbon footprint by encouraging energy-efficient devices and streaming over the internet rather than downloading physical media games, switching to green energy providers and getting involved with community
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sustainability initiatives or planting real trees to offset their carbon footprints.
4. Reduce Water Footprint
Video games have the power to raise awareness about climate change and encourage action among players – that is why video game industry and UNEP have joined forces to form the “Playing for the Planet Alliance.”
Gaming companies are taking steps to be more sustainable and reduce their carbon footprint, such as switching energy providers or offering additional recycling bins or creating games that promote conservation.
Gaming industry emissions can be managed. Gaming has experienced explosive growth since 2010, now totalling 3.24 billion gamers around the globe. Some gamers have taken up environmental activism through gaming by planting trees or cutting energy consumption; fighting climate change, or combatting it all together.
Recycling video games when no longer desired is essential to the environment’s well-being, as their plastic parts do not biodegrade and their circuit boards contain precious metals like gold that could damage our planet if incinerated or dumped into landfills.
Gaming companies are taking steps to lessen their environmental footprint. Some are switching to cleaner energy sources while educating gamers about sustainability through green games and DLC packs, with some encouraging users to plant trees through gaming platforms.
Others are working toward reducing electronic waste through purposeful obsolescence, with Xbox maker Microsoft offering gamers a program whereby their consoles automatically turn off when not being played – not only does this save electricity costs but it helps lower e-waste levels as less consoles end up in landfills.