Let’s face it, just about everything we do in life is going green one way or another. And when you consider that the video game industry is the largest entertainment industry in the world, it’s no surprise that many want to become a green gamer.
So what is a “green gamer?”
Well, put simply, it’s someone who is being environmentally conscious with their gaming habits. And to be perfectly honest, many people will probably already take some of these steps as they can help you save a lot of of money.
All of this can be achieved without having to change up your gaming habits too much. Instead, you to can help lower your carbon footprint while pursuing your favorite pastime with some simple changes.
1. Don’t Use Rest Mode For Extended Periods
Perhaps one of the most annoying aspects of when games went online was constantly having to update your game to the latest version. It was even more annoying when internet speeds were still slow, but the industry tried to improve this by adding rest mode to modern consoles.
Rest mode is a lower power mode where the system will look for updates either to the OS or for every game you have installed. And it’ll even charge any controllers or headphones you have connected. While this is a great quality of life change, it’s not so great for the environment.
You see, even though it may feel like an eternity to update or install a new game, it really doesn’t take that long.
Thus, if you are leaving your console in rest mode overnight and during work or school, well, that’s a lot of wasted electricity. Instead, turn off your console if you are not going to use it for a while.
Or, at the very least, try to turn it on to see if the updates are done, then turn it off.
2. Don’t Leave Your Consoles On Overnight
Many games have AFK strategies where you can leave a console on overnight and set up a turbo controller, script, or a rubber-banded controller to carry out a simple task. The end result is you get a ton of rewards without having to put in the effort.
While this sounds great on paper, leaving your console on overnight is going to use a lot of electricity.
And since most electricity we use comes from fossil fuel sources, that’s going to leave behind a big footprint, especially if you take this to the extreme. Not only will this help you lower your carbon footprint, but it will also improve the lifespan of your console.
3. Buy And Sell Used Games
Not only will this save you a ton of money over your career as a green gamer, but it’s great for the environment. It’s definitely hard to match the feeling of bringing home a title and ripping off that shrink wrap to enjoy that new game smell, but there’s no denying the benefit.
The shrink wraps used on news games are a great example of single-use plastic. It’s something that most people will throw in the garbage, where it will inevitably end up in a landfill. And that’s probably the best case, not everyone has the best habits.
It could easily end up in the ocean if someone isn’t particularly careful.
Of course, this also helps lower the demand for printing games in the first place. Plenty of people are happy to wait and buy a game at a steep discount online or at Gamestop.
There’s no denying that video games have one of the strongest second-hand markets out there.
4. Go Digital
Of course, there’s a much better option than just buying physical games, go digital. Digital sales are becoming far more common, so much so that Sony even released a disc-less PS5, and it’s incredibly popular (good luck finding one).
While the second-hand market can offer better value, there’s no denying the sales on PSN, Xbox Gamestore, Nintendo eShop, and of course Steam have some amazing value. When you combine that with family sharing plans, it might even be better than used games.
For the environment, it’s definitely a good thing. Digital games are growing, which means physical game releases are shrinking, That means less plastic is being used to create game cases and their respective packaging.
5. Avoid Collectors Editions You Don’t NEED
Some games release amazing collector editions with steel cases, statues, jewelry, and a whole lot of stuff you probably don’t want or need. Trust me, I have assembled a huge collection of gaming merchandise, but we all know there is a limit.
Many collector editions include a lot of little things like stickers, info cards, themed USB drives, photos, keychains, and other objects that you probably don’t need. By reducing the number of these you buy, you can help reduce your waste.
Seriously, take a moment and ask yourself, how much do I actually use anything that comes in a collector’s edition? If you are like me, it’s probably never.
Of course, if you really love a franchise, it can be hard to ignore them, so just try to limit yourself.
6. Don’t Upgrade For the Sake of Upgrading
For all of the members of the PC Master Race, we all love to brag about our graphic cards and the number of frames we can squeeze out of our gaming rigs. But there is no denying it comes at a cost. And I don’t just mean the high cost of these components.
From an environmental standpoint, constantly updating your rig is a huge waste. These components can easily last for more than five years with only a small loss in graphical fidelity or performance. You do not need to buy the latest parts upon release.
If you do, you’ll end up with an insane amount of waste. While you can sell these components or use them for a different rig, the truth is most of them just end up in a landfill. So, update sparingly to not only help the environment but to save money.
It’s definitely one of the best ways to go green as a gamer.
7. Participate In Environment Events
If there’s one thing that has been made crystal clear, when gamers unite, they can do anything. Many companies have created environmental campaigns that their players can participate in, which can not only help the environment but be a lot of fun.
For example, when Horizon Forbidden West was released on the PS5 earlier this year, PlayStation launched an event where they would plant a tree for every player who unlocked the “Reached the Daunt” trophy in the game in conjunction with the Arbor Day Foundation.
Of course, it’s not just the game companies that set up events. Some of the biggest Twitch streamers will often run charity streams where they donate to a specific cause or organization. Naturally, some of these are for the environment, so be sure to participate.
Even just watching them without donating can help out a ton and become a green gamer in no time.
What Can You Do to Be More Eco-Friendly as a Gamer?
There’s no doubt that gaming can consume an incredible amount of resources. Can you imagine how much electricity is used to run every gaming computer as well as the servers for Twitch or YouTube at any given time?
Doing your part can reduce the impact of online streaming, or just playing your favorite game. Not only can it help the environment, but it can also help your wallet.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.