We now pay attention to sustainability in almost all areas of life. But not in gaming. And this is despite the fact that computer or video games consume a lot of energy – whether played on the PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch, or mobile. It is not difficult to play games more energy-efficiently. There are ways like getting a roll duo to have somebody else use their computer to play for you, so you don’t have to consume energy using your device.
Six out of ten Germans do it, women and men, younger and older: they play on PCs, consoles, smartphones, tablets, or handhelds. This is the result of a survey by game, the association of the German games industry. “Germany is a country of gamers,” says game managing director Felix Falk. Worldwide, more than 2.7 billion people are already among the players – and the trend is rising.
However, gaming on most devices consumes a lot of energy – and is therefore responsible for high CO₂ emissions. “The most energy-hungry game computers require as much energy as four energy-efficient refrigerators,” says Evan Mills, a researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy. If you follow the following tips, you can reduce your power consumption by up to three quarters. In this way, gamers protect the environment – and also save money.
Here are five tips for a greener gaming pleasure.
1. Rely on the right platform
Gaming PC or console, tablet or smartphone? Already with the selection of the game platform, users can save electricity. For example, if you prefer to play simple games in a pixel look, you do not need a highly equipped gaming PC. “In such cases, a normal laptop or a not quite as powerful console is sufficient, which consume significantly less energy,” advises games Managing Director Falk.
2. Use energy-efficient hardware
New chips and devices are significantly more energy efficient than older ones. Gamers should therefore use the latest technologies as much as possible. “In terms of hardware, the graphics card is the largest single energy consumer,” says US researcher Mills. Mid-range graphics cards with significantly lower power consumption today deliver the same performance that only top models provided two years ago. If you put together a new gaming PC, you do not always have to reach the top performance class with graphics cards.
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3. Choose economical software
Every gamer knows the problem: You would like to have a break, but the current game status can not be cached. You, therefore, call up a control menu to stop the game – and simply let the device continue to run while you eat dinner, for example. Consoles in particular continue to draw a lot of power from the socket. Better are games that automatically cache in such situations and go into sleep mode. Of course, the game developers are also in demand here. “We are confident that games can be designed more efficiently without deteriorating the user experience,” says US expert Mills.
4. Don’t stream long games
“The CO₂ emissions when playing differ depending on the distribution – i.e. whether I refer to a title on disk, as a download or via stream,” says games Managing Director Falk. Especially when games are played for a very long time, discs and downloads are more climate-friendly than streaming: Cloud-based games consume a lot of energy because there are large data centers behind them that need to be ventilated and cooled. In addition, there is the effort required to transfer the generated game data. And in addition, the computer or console runs at home.
5. Turn off devices correctly instead of standby mode
If the gaming session is to be ended, pretty much all game PCs and consoles today offer practical stand-by modes. In the long run, however, they draw significantly more energy than if gamers switch off their device completely. “Some systems consume almost as much energy in sleep mode as they do when playing actively,” says US researcher Mills. Switching off the devices properly is therefore worthwhile – especially since the boot process today often takes only slightly longer than booting up from stand-by mode thanks to fast memory.