If you’re an avid gamer, you’ve probably played your fair share of post-apocalyptic titles. Gaming franchises, like “Fallout” and “Horizon,” which depict a future derailed by nuclear waste and robots routinely make their way to the top of the bestseller list. Even FPS games like “Battlefield 2042” now account for the impact of natural disasters.
Traversing a virtual wasteland and saving the world is always fun. However, the real world faces an existential threat, too: climate change.
The scale of the global warming threat has recently been outlined by researchers from the University of Graz, Austria. The researchers predict that by the year 2100, climate change will cause an unprecedented loss of life, increase global refugee crises, and thrust millions of people into inescapable poverty.
As a gamer, you already know your next move: Do something now to help save the world from catastrophe.
Energy Efficient Consoles
It’s unlikely that you’re willing to play less to cut down on your personal energy consumption. To mitigate your carbon use, you should seriously think about investing in the most energy-efficient console or gaming PC.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X are the most energy-demanding consoles on the market today. They currently use between 45 and 220 watts, but that number may rise as future games may utilize power-intensive software developments, like Unreal Engine 5.
The Nintendo Switch appears to be the most energy-efficient console available. It only uses 10 to 18 watts and is a fully portable device. The Switch also supports a ton of major titles like “The Witcher 3,” the “Zelda” franchise, and “Stardew Valley” so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Opting for an energy-efficient console is a good way to bring down your carbon footprint. However, most gamers are loyal to their device of choice. Suggesting a change from a Playstation to Nintendo is like suggesting that Sonic gives up sprinting it just isn’t going to happen.
Fortunately, the way you use your console also makes a huge difference. If you have a PS5, consider turning the console off instead of leaving it in rest mode. A PS5 in rest mode uses up to 3.8 watts which can add up quickly if it is in rest 24/7.
The same applies if you play on an Xbox. The “instant-on” mode uses up to 11 to 13 watts. Xbox has an “energy-saving” mode to help you avoid this, although “energy saving” really just equates to turning the console off entirely.
Gaming PCs are a different beast entirely. The average gaming PC uses tons of energy, from 450 to 1,100 watts. The demands that a PC has are typically much higher than consoles. This makes sense, as PC gaming is usually a notch above console gaming in terms of graphics and system performance. Keeping your PC updated and regularly replacing old parts is just about the only way to bring this number down.
Keeping your gaming consoles turned off and updating your PC are great ways to reduce energy use. But what about when it’s time to get your game on? You can make your gaming setup more sustainable by choosing energy-efficient lighting, electronics, and appliances. For example, if you want to backlight your monitor, consider efficient LED bulbs. Or, if you’re looking to create a gaming room, consider checking out Energy Star Appliances which are energy-efficient and cost-effective.
Every gamer has dreamed of designing a dedicated gaming room. Having your own space for socializing online, exploring open worlds, and relaxing is a real boon and sure to be the envy of your gaming friends.
When decorating a gaming room, you should choose a space that has plenty of natural light and is naturally cool. This will help you cut down on energy use from artificial light and AC units. If you’re looking for a gaming chair, you may want to stick to the basics and get an ergonomic chair that supports your posture but doesn’t use up extra energy on extra inbuilt speakers.
The gaming room of your dreams also probably includes a few luxuries, like a mini-fridge. It’s up to you whether or not to include these kinds of extra appliances, as they will increase the overall energy use in your gaming room. That said, you can always consider balancing out the extra use with carbon offsets.
Gaming is inherently energy demanding. However, it’s important to keep perspective and remember that spending your free time slide-canceling or building a tiny village isn’t going to cause the apocalypse.
Carbon offsetting is already popular amongst multinational organizations and is gaining steam at the individual level, too. Essentially, you pay a company to take clean-energy action like planting trees, distributing energy-efficient appliances, or capturing methane from landfill sites.
It’s important to note that buying carbon offsets isn’t a perfect science, and some valid criticism does exist. However, purchasing speculative carbon offsets may result in a net drop in your energy use so you can game all night with an easy conscience.
Gaming sustainably is easier than you might think. Start by making small changes like turning your console off rather than leaving it in rest mode. Then, when you’re ready to upgrade your gear, consider opting for a less energy-intensive console, like the Switch. If you still feel racked with guilt, you can always buy some carbon offsets to help fund a carbon-neutral future.