As part of the United Nations' 2019 Climate Action Summit, 21 companies in the video games industry are announcing new sustainability commitments as part of the Playing For The Planet alliance, ranging from emissions reductions to funding and supporting games that address environmental themes.
Of particular is a new commitment from Sony Interactive Entertainment concerning the next generation PlayStation. At the Official US PlayStation Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan says that the next PlayStation console will include a low-power feature, dropping power consumption to an estimated 0.5 W while gameplay is suspended.
"If just one million users enable this feature," writes Ryan, "it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes." For context, Sony estimates the various PS4 and PS4 Pro models consume between 1.7 and 4 W while keeping applications suspended.
Microsoft and Google Stadia are also making commitments that should inform the next few years for their respective hardware and game streaming initiatives. Microsoft aims to reduce emissions by 30 percent throughout its supply chain, including "end-of-life" recycling or disposal of devices, by 2030. Additionally, Microsoft VP Phil Spencer points to a sustainability campaign in Minecraft and an upcoming pilot program to certify 825,000 Xbox consoles as carbon neutral as two visible, ongoing commitments. Google Stadia says it will produce a "Sustainable Game Development Guide" and fund research into incorporating "green nudges" in gameplay.
The full list of companies that have joined Playing For The Planet—including other industry mainstays such as Ubisoft, Niantic, and Twitch—can be found at the UN's website. Last week, Ubisoft and developers Sports Interactive announced that their major Playing For The Planet goal of switching Football Manager 2020 to recycled paper packaging is ready to debut later this year, eliminating an estimated 20 metric tons of plastic use.
Playing For The Planet and the 2019 Climate Action Summit are just part of the UN's wide-ranging response to a 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report that pushes for "unprecedented transitions" prior to 2030 to limit warming to a critical threshold of 1.5°C.