Globally, PC gamers consume more than 75 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. This is equivalent to the output of 25 electric power plants. What is more surprising is that this does not include console gaming.
In America, gamers emit more than 12 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, equivalent to 2.3 million cars. With the gaming industry ever-expanding, we could see the 2.7 billion gamers increase in number, causing a worry to the planet.
Luckily, it’s not too late to save energy. The high number of gamers means video gaming can be the best channel to pass information about energy conservation to most of the world’s population.
The gaming industry remains to be one of the most influential industries globally as it can reach many people in the world.
As a result, UNEP has been working closely with the industry, World’s Scouts Movement, and the International Olympic Committee to find out ways how the youth can act to protect the environment.
In March 2019, UNEP released a study, “Playing For The Planet’’ that discussed how the young population could be influenced through gaming to protect the environment. This program has reached over 97 million gamers.
The gaming industry boasts 3 billion hours of viewership every week, giving it an unprecedented ability to capture many people’s attention.
Playing for the planet discusses several issues about gaming and the youth:
- Agents of change: Youths also have to deliver the message rather than just being the receivers. Empowering the youth to deliver messages about the environment can lead to a long-lasting behavior change.
- Advocate for the relationship with nature: While video games serve as a channel through which communication about the environment is passed, it is important to include nature in gaming. Gaming should bring most people on the screen into nature and nature to people on screens.
- Influencing behavior: There should be a way to measure whether “Playing for nature” positively influences gamers’ behavior.
Gaming companies are also fostering the move. A Green Game Jam held in March 2019 saw 11 mobile gaming companies add a sustainability element to their games. This is also called a “Green Nudge.”
The games asked players to make personal commitments such as biking to work, skipping meat on some days, and designing green environments.
The gaming industry is also thinking of becoming carbon neutral.
Supercell, which makes mobile titles, plans to offset the carbon dioxide emitted by players during gaming.
Video games use more energy than most of our home electric appliances, and their market is more significant than any other entertainment industry. With the growing figures of carbon dioxide emissions through video gaming, it is important to begin talking about this and find ways to change and interact with nature to save our planet.