While we often think of video games as the domain of 15-year-old boys, the reality is that two-thirds of households in the U.S. engage in video gaming. But what is the environmental impact of gaming? What are the effects of video game consumption on the world? Video games use energy and carbon, and California’s electricity needs could rise 114 percent in five years. The gaming industry contributes significantly to these problems.
The first factor that contributes to video game pollution is mass production. Physical copies of games emit about twenty times more CO2 than digital downloads. In 2019, the production of FIFA 20 emitted half a million tons of CO2. In comparison, the sale of one hundred million PS4 consoles from 2013 to 2019 generated 9.8 million tons of CO2. That’s more than the total CO2 emissions of Moldova and Costa Rica combined. As a result, video game emissions are responsible for nearly twenty percent of the world’s CO2 emissions.
There are ways to reduce your video game’s environmental impact without giving up your favorite leisure activity. Consider downloading or streaming your games instead of buying them and limiting the number of hours you play each day. If you cannot make do without playing video games, then choose a more energy efficient game. Manufacturers should also include CO2 emissions and energy consumption in the specifications of their products. By taking these steps, you’ll be helping the planet while enjoying your favorite leisure activity.