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PlayStation and UN join forces with Playing for the Planet climate alliance

Sony also hopes leaving the PS5 on standby will have a far lower environmental impact than the current generation of consoles.

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Sony PlayStation UN playing for the planet logo

Sony also hopes leaving the PS5 on standby will have a far lower environmental impact than the current generation of consoles.

Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, announced on Sunday that Sony will partner with UN Environment. The aim of the joint initiative, dubbed “Playing for the Planet,” to combat climate change by lowering console emissions. Ryan said that he would join other gaming industry leaders at this week’s UN Climate Summit.

“At SIE, we have made substantial commitments and efforts to reduce the power consumption of the PS4 by utilizing efficient technologies such as System-on-a-Chip architecture integrating a high-performance graphics processor, die shrink, power scaling, as well as energy-saving modes such as Suspend-to-RAM. For context, we estimate the carbon emissions we have avoided to date already amount to almost 16 million metric tons, increasing to 29 million metric tons over the course of the next 10 years (which equals the CO2 emissions for the nation of Denmark in 2017),” Ryan wrote in a post on the PlayStation Blog.

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“I am also very pleased to announce the next-generation PlayStation console will include the possibility to suspend gameplay with much lower power consumption than PS4 (which we estimate can be achieved at around 0.5 W). If just one million users enable this feature, it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.”

Sony joins a climate movement

Sony’s efforts arrive amid a wave of youth-driven climate activism. On Friday, an estimated 4 million people took to the streets worldwide in “climate strike” protests. The video games industry’s connection to young people, Ryan said, motivated UN Environment’s decision to partner with industry leaders.

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Ryan said that Sony would complete a carbon footprint assessment, though he did not provide a timeline. Additionally, Sony will provide information for users who want to learn to live more sustainable lives. The company will also provide resources who want to include climate-related themes in their games.

The games industry produces millions of tonnes of plastic each year, despite the increasing prevalence of digital-only games. Hopefully, Sony can be a leader in reducing plastic waste as we head into the next console generation, following on from the example set by SI Games with Football Manager 20.

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Andrew King is a journalist, critic, poet, stand-up comedian and museum caretaker living in Illinois.

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