Microsoft is charging itself with the task of creating 825,000 carbon neutral Xbox consoles as part of a pilot sustainability program. The company joins the likes of Sony and Google Stadia under the “Playing for the Planet Alliance”, a group representing major game devs, publishers, and manufacturers all working towards a greener future.
Announced alongside the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, the 14 strong group’s combined efforts will result in a 30 million tonne reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, new trees being planted, and sustainable packaging and device recycling measures put in place.
“The video games industry has the ability to engage, inspire and captivate the imaginations of billions of people across the world,” Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, says. “This makes them a hugely important partner in addressing the climate emergency. We are encouraged by the commitment of these gaming companies, which shows recognition that we all must play our role in the global effort to lower carbon emissions and effect real change towards sustainability.”
Microsoft will be rolling out its carbon neutral Xbox pilot to help combat the impact its console empire has on the globe (via Gamespot). The company is pledging to produce 825,000 carbon neutral Xbox consoles – although it doesn’t specify which Xbox exactly. That would roughly equate to nearly two months worth of Xbox One console shipments today, which has sold more than 42 million units in its lifetime (according to data from vgchartz).
Xbox is gearing up to launch Project Scarlett next year, and we’re hoping its carbon reducing efforts will carry over to its latest hardware – it may even be Project Scarlett that Microsoft will test its pilot program on.
“Climate change is impacting each industry and every sector, and we believe technology can play a critical role in enabling and empowering the response to this challenge,” Phil Spencer, executive vice president of gaming at Microsoft, says. “Initiatives like our Minecraft Build a Better World Campaign and carbon neutral Xbox pilot provide a great opportunity to tap into Microsoft’s technology sustainability and gaming community to make a difference in this key area of our business.”
Minecraft has previously been the vessel for environmental messages, with one group using the game to educate players on the deforestation of Białowieża Forest.
AMD may also have to get tougher on the environment to meet these goals, as the company is responsible for producing (via TSMC) the Zen 2/Navi SoC within both the Xbox One, Xbox One X, and the next-gen Xbox.
As a part of the new program, Sony will also introduce a “low power” suspend mode, and will “assess and report” its carbon footprint. And Google is producing a new Sustainable Game Development Guide for its Stadia streaming service.
But don’t think that without physical hardware streaming services are innately better for the environment than physical kit. Google reports that all existing datacentres use roughly 2% of the world’s electricity alone, and that makes it crucial for it to utilise green energy and ensure its silicon runs effectively and offers the best performance per watt. With AMD GPUs powering Stadia, it once again falls on the red team’s shoulders to make a difference close to the metal.
Other companies involved in the program include: Creative Mobile, E-Line Media, Green Man Gaming, iDreamSky, Internet of Elephants, Niantic Inc, Pixelberry, Reliance Games, Rovio, Space Ape, Sports Interactive, Supercell, Strange Loop, Sybo, Twitch, Ubisoft, WildWorks, and will be supported by Playmob.