“Playing for the Planet” is a United Nations initiative designed to harness the rapidly growing video game market to help combat climate change. In a PlayStation Blog post, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s President and CEO Jim Ryan announced plans to join forces with the UN. The company will contribute to the work being led by the UN Environment committee through a partnership. Interestingly, Sony’s awareness of energy consumption already appears evident in the PlayStation 4’s design. In addition, consumers will take notice of it once the next-generation console launches.
Ryan explained that the PS4 is emblematic of SIE’s efforts to reduce a console’s power consumption. This is courtesy of 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.” By Sony’s calculations, these design choices have circumvented an estimated “16 million metric tons” in carbon emissions. If the PS4’s energy consumption continues at this pace, within the next 10 years that number will increase to about 29 million metric tons, which amounts to “the CO2 emissions for the nation of Denmark in 2017.”
It certainly sounds impressive, but according to Ryan, the company may be able to conserve even more energy with next-gen hardware. In the blog post, he noted the following,
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.
For players interesting in tracking this information themselves, Sony’s next step is aimed at finding a way to inform consumers of “sustainability goals.” Moreover, the company will also team with climate change experts to produce “reference information” that developers can use in exploring such themes in their own projects, should they so choose. This climate change commitment may eventually become evident in PlayStation VR applications, crafted to heighten consumer awareness.