YOU might not think of videogames as having much of a carbon footprint, but there are actually quite a lot of carbon emissions linked to playing games.
From plastic packaging to the power used to run a PC, console or mobile device, both manufacturing and playing videogames require energy, and that energy sometimes comes from fossil fuels.
The better-looking the game, the more powerful the technology needs to be to run it properly. And that means more energy is needed.
A big, beefy gaming PC playing the latest and best-looking game will use around 1kW of power to run. That’s about the same amount as a kettle, says Guardian technology editor Alex Hern. “By contrast,” he wrote, “A Nintendo Switch draws just 10W, about the same as a dim light bulb, while playing a game like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.” That’s 100 times less energy!
With millions of people playing the newest, best-looking games, carbon emissions can quickly add up.
If developers create less realistic, less graphically intense games, then computers and gaming consoles won’t need to use as much energy to run them.
As technology develops, we could begin to see better-looking graphics that use less energy. Until then, the emissions from gaming are something that we need to think about.
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