Gaming is going green — and some of the biggest game companies hope players will, too.
The companies behind PlayStation, Xbox, Angry Birds, Minecraft, Twitch and other video games and platforms pledged Monday at the United Nations in New York to level up efforts to fight climate change and get their users involved.
The promises include planting trees and reducing plastic packaging, making game devices more energy efficient and incorporating environmental themes into the games.
Jim Ryan, head of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said the company’s plans include outfitting the next-generation PlayStation system with a low-power, suspend-play mode. He said if 1 million players use it, they could save enough electricity to power 1,000 average U.S. homes.
With an estimated 2 billion-plus video-game players globally, “this is the most powerful mobilization channel in the world,” David Paul, the Marshall Islands’ environment minister, told the gaming executives. His low-lying Pacific island homeland faces an serious threat from rising seas as the planet warms.
Parents and psychologists have worried for years about games and other digital diversions sucking youths into staring at screens. The World Health Organization this year recommended no more than an hour of screen time a day for children younger than 5, and none at all for infants.
Gaming company leaders say that not all screen time is of equal value. They believe that their products can engage players on serious issues such as climate change.
“We try to provide entertainment with substance,” said Clark Stacey, head of WildWorks.