Gamescom for planet protection

A number of Grande Vegas online casino USA and video game sector member organizations are bringing the gaming industry into the environmental agenda in the belief that the gaming industry can help impact the push for dealing with climate change. Some of the most creative initiatives include:

Playing for the Planet Alliance

United Nations Environmental Programme works with the gaming industry to explore how the gaming industry’s massive reach can help inspire people to learn and act in support of the environment. The gaming industry has a platform with unprecedented influence and a reach of 1 in 3 people on the planet. The UNEP believes that this media platform can and should be harnessed to help the planet meet Sustainable

Development Goals

The Playing for the Planet Alliance was launched in September 2019 during the UN’s  Climate Action Summit. With the support of GRID-Arendal and Playmob the UNEP brings together members who commit to reduce their emissions, plant trees, reduce use of plastic, integrate green activations in games and support the global environmental agenda.

Green Game Jam

The Green Game Jam is a project of the Planet Alliance. The Green Game Jam brings together game studios who engage in friendly competition in creating games that include meaningful actions to combat climate change.

The Jam takes place at the Playing for the Planet Gamescom (the most recent Gamescom took place in Cologne Germany in August 2022) where awards were given for the 8 top environmentally-conscious games that capture players’ attention and imagination through gaming content – in-game climate actions, “green activations”, climate-change related themes, etc.

Reporting and Research

The Playing for the Planet tracks, measure, and reports about its initiatives so that it can determine the best practices for the video game industry to take. The goal is for other sectors to do the same.  For instance, the 2021 Annual Impact report showcased how collaboration between 32 gaming companies achieved desired results as members commit to plant trees, aim for net zero or carbon negative by 2023, raise money for environmental causes and reach players on forest and ocean issues.

Ubisoft  Reforestation

Ubisoft has drawn praise for its efforts to encourage gamers to engage with reforestation with a digital climate march that took place in July 2022. The Riders Republic game initiative included a reforestation activity and a virtual climate march for the outdoor sports game that took place in places like Bryce Canyon and Yosemite. The goal of the activity was to help players develop and foster a passion for the great outdoors, nature and biodiversity. In addition to the in-game Climate March and reforestation the game included a desert bloom, a rebirth base camp, in-game banners, special outfits and rebirth specific emotes.

A company spokesperson explained that the brainstorming for the Rebirth event occurred during COVID-19 lockdowns so the meetings took place online. Those online meetings were the nucleus of the idea for an in-game march. “ We think that the concept of in-game demonstrations can be a powerful tool in the future. For younger audiences, video games have already proven to facilitate communication and self-expression; Gen Z is the largest player audience base in the video game industry.

This makes video games an ideal platform for demonstrations about societal topics, and we hope the idea of the Climate March sparks a desire to host more online demonstrations in the future….video games provide the opportunity to create a collaborative and interactive means for deepening our understanding of the environment and sustainability that no other media can really do.”

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Both virtual reality and augmented reality are playing important roles in climate change education. At Stanford University, the Virtual Human Interaction Lab uses Virtual Reality to gauge awareness about topics such as ocean acidification and deforestation.

Researchers used VR and AR to plunk test subjects into the bodies of cows and corals to immerse the subjects in the medium so that they could better understand environmental issues and the sense of urgency surrounding these issues. Because AR and VR worlds allow users to experience events in more immersive ways, the experiences are more impactful, especially when it comes to driving climate action.

Digital Activism

Multiple digital giants are joining the initiative, each in its own way.

  • Sony has pledged that for each user that unlocks an in-game trophy, it will plant a tree with the Abor Day Foundation. The company has pledged to aim for a goal of planting 288,000 trees. Sony Interactive Entertainment also announced that they would use their Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 platforms to support UNEP campaigns and inform and encourage users to do the same.
  • Microsoft has added new software and hardware features that increase energy efficiency and monitor power user in their newest Xbox devices. Microsoft is one of the companies that pledged to reach carbon negativity by 2030. This could be tremendously impactful because studies have estimated that gaming worldwide an amount of energy comparable to 5 million cars. In addition, computers and gaming consoles are heavy contributors to the 50 million tons of electronic waste produced every year, of which only 20% is recycled
  • Sony and Guerilla Games’ much-anticipated Horizon Forbidden West, a sequel to the immensely-popular Horizon Zero Dawn, highlights the importance of environmentalism as a way to preserve the planet. The game is set in post-apocalyptic San Francisco and forces players to think about how each of us can impact on our environment.
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