Gaming's Environmental Impact

If you play video games, you've probably been offended, at some point or another, by the ridiculously bad rap that gamers all too often receive. From invoking violence to brainwashing the youth, you'd think that gamers were the world's most fearsome terrorist organization. While most of the accusations about video games that make the headlines are unfair and based on questionable "evidence", there are always ways for gamers to step up their act in a proud and dignified manner. One of the more legitimate problems with playing video games is the impact that it has on the environment, and it's a fairly simple one for players to address.

Unfortunately, when I went to do a bit of research for this blog post, most of what I found when looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of gaming were some rather insulting and unhelpful articles with titles like "People Playing Video Games Not Concerned About Its Environmental Impact". While this is clearly a broad and dubious statement, I was not able to find as much information on how to improve gaming habits as I would've liked. However, since the environment has long been a concern of mine, I can hopefully offer some advice based on my general knowledge of the subject in addition to what I've found specifically pertaining to video games.

One of the easiest, most effective, and financially smart things to do is to simply unplug your appliances when they're not in use. Even when electronic devices like video consoles aren't being used, they can still use up a ton of energy just by being plugged into the wall. An easy way to achieve this effect for your computer is to simply plug everything into a power strip and at the end of the day, flip the switch. It may seem like a pain, going around and making sure everything's no longer using power, but if you're like me, it's worth it if for no other reason than to get rid of all those stupid glowing lights that keep you up at night. These sort of habits are also beneficial in that they can substantially prolong the lifespans of your appliances.

Something that you should always do for a great number of reasons is to do your research before buying. If you were to, say, go out right now and purchase a PlayStation 3, you'd have several options. As far as energy efficiency is concerned, the newer PlayStation 3 Slims use about half as much energy as the original release PS3s and are cheaper. This is usually the case when comparing new and old versions of a console. You should also consider things like controllers. Buying brand new batteries for your XBox 360 wireless controller every time they run out would be costly and stupid when there are many other sensible solutions out there.

While I wasn't able to find any sort of specific information on the subject, I can pretty much gaurantee you that buying used and refurbished will save you lots of money and energy. I know that every once in a while, you're dying to bust open a brand new game on the day it's released, but if you're just browsing for something new to try, I seriously suggest going used. Especially in this day and age, discs are being made more and more resilient, making "used" hardly any different than "new". As far as consoles go, refurbs aren't always entirely reliable so again, do your research. Make sure that you're getting it from a legitimate vendor and that you hold onto your receipt.

Aside from those easily doable suggestions on how to reduce your environmental impact, there are always more ways to make a difference, so long as it's something that you care about. So keep your mind open and prove the biased, judgemental media wrong.

Some articles that I stumbled upon while writing this post:
"People Playing Video Games Not Concerned With Its Environmental Impact"
"Energy Savers: When to Turn Off Personal Computers"
"PS3 Slim uses half the power of PS3 'fat'"


  1. Wanna know how else to minimize your gaming-induced environmental impact?

    Piracy, no joke. Instead of buy a game that was probably made somewhere in China, and shipped to the US somewhere before being shipped to Canada (And in the process, burning a veritable ton in fossil fuels), and then buying a box that's 90% waste made by new materials (The other 10% being the discs you paid for, and maybe a manual about 10-15 pages long.), and everything else involved, I just use power that I'm already using by having the computer on. (Which for me is powered by hydroelectric energy. Go Niagara Falls.)

    Of course, there are other pretty legitimate concerns, but if environmental impact is your top priority, then piracy it is.

  2. Lol, I would probably go with direct download before piracy, but that is an interesting idea which I hadn't really considered.