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Is gaming greener and more sustainable, thanks to new technologies?

by James Musoba
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Although it goes without saying that gamers use a lot of electricity in their play, there are other forms of environmental damage caused by the creation of the latest releases.

Whether it’s mining for the raw materials that build games consoles and PCs, physically shipping large quantities of computers and games around the world or using stacks of energy to store saved games in the cloud — so-called ‘internet pollution’ — this is an industry not known for its green credentials and sustainability.

But now some games developers are starting to fight back in a bid to minimize their damaging output.

Mining mayhem

You may not know this, but your games console and PC contain all manner of precious metals and materials.

Zinc, copper, nickel and even gold are used in the build of gaming technology, and each of these needs to be mined — the extraction process contributes a mammoth carbon footprint.

But a number of key players within gaming are doing their bit to stem the tide, with the major console and PC builders turning to lower impact forms of mining and partnering with firms that have proven sustainable certification.

Energy efficient

As the awareness around green issues grows in society, gaming companies have effectively been forced to improve the energy efficiency of their consoles and PCs.

Household bills continue to rise too, and so there is an obvious demand to maximize the efficiency of gaming.

Sony has turned to more energy efficient chipsets in the design of their PS5, with MD Zen2 and RDNA2-based chips delivering enhanced graphical performance and lower power consumption into the bargain.

Going online

If you want to be more sustainable in your own gaming, you should consider switching wholly to downloadable games, rather than physical versions.

This helps to lower the carbon footprint of the industry and will help to accelerate the evolution to purely digital gaming.

The trends suggest that online gaming is on the rise anyway, as you would expect. This niche sector is expected to be worth more than $33 billion within five years, with players flocking to download hit gaming apps just as much as they feverishly await the hottest console releases.

Many of these titles, whether it’s action, sport, puzzle or even an NJ online casino game can be played on smartphones and tablets, which again helps to reverse the trend of console/PC dominance.

Waste not

What happens when you upgrade your console or PC to the next generation of hardware?

You may hang on to your older model, boxing it up and moving it into the attic, but sadly many gamers simply throw their unwanted gaming apparatus in the trash.

And that’s a problem. Apparently, some 50 million metric tons of ‘e-waste’ are sent to landfills each year, when in fact they can be easily recycled. Worse still, unused consoles and PCs disposed of in this way can cause mercury and lead to leak into the local ecology, damaging plant species and nature.

Many gaming firms now have dedicated ways in which you can recycle your old consoles, and, in some cases, you will even be paid a (small) amount in credit or vouchers that can be spent on games and hardware for your new purchase.

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