Back to the complete issue
Wednesday, 10 February 2021

How the gaming industry is battling climate change

Can video games help save the world? Major game titles have been upping environmentalist themes in gameplay as a way to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change and how to combat them, reports The Financial Times. Sims characters have stopped leaving the TV on all night or heating the backyard pool all winter, with a recent expansion pack — The Sims 4: Eco Lifestyle — allowing them to instead tap into their “full eco warrior.” The updated characters practice everything from recycling and collecting dew for their morning showers to upcycling their own clothes and making candles. Sims maker Will Wright had the environment in mind from early on; incorporating global warming into the 1990 release of SimEarth.

A recent add-on for Minecraft introduced carbon dioxide levels to the game, allowing players to monitor greenhouse gas levels and reduce it by planting trees. The Minecraft Education platform used the add-on features to teach children how common chemical reactions can be created by natural and human activities. Civilization VI also featured an expansion in June 2019 titled Gathering Storm, where rising pollution levels could turn plains into deserts — a theme first featured in Civilization’s first game release in 2001.

For more climate-change related games, you can check out these lists by The BBVA and The Verge.

Taking it one step further: What about the carbon footprint of consoles? The gaming industry has also begun to look at its sustainability practices in hardware production and beyond. For example, the plastics and metals used to manufacture Playstation 4 hardware resulted in more carbon emissions than all of Jamaica would put out in a year, The Verge found. Even after production, consoles have a carbon footprint, with the electricity used to fuel gaming hardware in the US alone estimated to be equal to powering 5 mn cars — or the annual energy use of Denmark, according to a study in the Computer Games Journal.

Gaming companies are looking for solutions: The industry have already been moving towards a shift to digital downloads as opposed to physical game disks, and major players such as Microsoft and Sony have set ambitious environmental targets — Microsoft intends to be carbon negative by 2030, and Sony plans to “achieve a zero environmental footprint” by 2050. The United Nations founded in 2019 “The Playing for the Planet Initiative” which now has 29 global gaming companies as members. The initiative supports integrating green activations in games, reducing emissions, and reducing plastic in products as well as planting mns of trees.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2022 Enterprise Ventures LLC.

Enterprise is available without charge thanks to the generous support of EFG Hermes (tax ID: 200-178-385), the leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets; SODIC (tax ID: 212-168-002), a leading Egyptian real estate developer; SomaBay (tax ID: 204-903-300), our Red Sea holiday partner; Infinity (tax ID: 474-939-359), the ultimate way to power cities, industries, and homes directly from nature right here in Egypt; CIRA (tax ID: 200-069-608), the leading providers of K-12 and higher level education in Egypt; Orascom Construction (tax ID: 229-988-806), the leading construction and engineering company building infrastructure in Egypt and abroad; Moharram & Partners (tax ID: 616-112-459), the leading public policy and government affairs partner; Palm Hills Developments (tax ID: 432-737-014), a leading developer of commercial and residential properties; Etisalat Misr (tax ID: 235-071-579), the leading telecoms provider in Egypt; and Industrial Development Group (IDG) (tax ID:266-965-253), the leading builder of industrial parks in Egypt.