Sony has announced that the PlayStation 5 will be more energy efficient than its predecessor, the PlayStation 4. In 2014, a study from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) found that both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consume up to three times more electricity than consoles from the previous generation.
Of the two consoles, though, the PlayStation 4 is more energy efficient: its standby mode uses less power than that of the Xbox One. However, since those consoles' releases, discussions about climate change have become more prevalent. Many experts are now urging individuals and industries to take drastic measures before it's too late. Even famed scientist and TV host Bill Nye has gone to extreme measures to get the message across. Currently, the U.N. is hosting a Climate Summit where 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has spoken to world leaders about their failure in addressing the issue.
The United Nations (U.N.) Climate Summit has also brought together the gaming industry with the Playing for the Planet Alliance. As a result, Sony President and CEO Jim Ryan wrote on the PlayStation Blog about his company's commitment to reduce the power consumption of the PlayStation 4 with its standby mode. He also announced that the next-generation PlayStation will have a standby mode that is more energy efficient. Ryan wrote:
"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."
However, Sony does not plan on stopping there. The company has plans to look at the carbon footprint of other services, as well as to study the energy efficiency of its data centers. Ryan also wrote that Sony will work with others in the industry to include sustainability themes in games, as well as to potentially create educational PS VR applications about climate issues. According to the U.N., the Playing for the Planet Alliance also has support from others in the gaming industry. Microsoft committed to reducing emissions in its supply chain by 30 percent and to producing 825,000 carbon-neutral consoles. Microsoft and Ubisoft both committed to using recycled materials in physical editions of games. Google Stadia, an upcoming cloud game service, also voiced its support for the initiative.
In all, a total of 21 gaming companies support the Playing for the Planet Alliance. With next-generation consoles arriving within the next year or so, many are also looking to a future where video games no longer exist as physical products made of plastic, but as digital downloads. In the meantime, though, it's good that the gaming industry is continuing to make what changes it can to make its hardware more energy efficient.