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Want to Save the Planet? Sony Trumpets PS4 Over PC Gaming

Published September 29, 2020 10:46 AM
Thomas Bardwell
Published September 29, 2020 10:46 AM
  • Sony has published a new report as part of its partnership with the UN Playing for the Planet Alliance.
  • It notes that PS4 gaming accounts for almost half the carbon emissions of PC.
  • The gaming giant aims to avoid 30 million tones of carbon equivalent emission for PS4 by 2030.

If you’re concerned about gaming’s ecological impact, notably the strain on power-hungry data centers feeding downloads, then your better off playing on PS4.

According to a new annual report published by Sony Interactive Entertainment  as part of its involvement in the UN’s ‘Playing for the Planet’ initiative , the average PS4 download accounts for almost half of the carbon emissions of an equivalent PC download.

PS4 is responsible for almost half that of PC. | Source: UN/Playing For The Planet

A study conducted by the University of Surrey on behalf of Sony  reveals that PS4 downloads produce 47 g of CO2 per hour, compared to 55 g of CO2 per hour when playing from a disc.

On the other hand, PC gaming is responsible, on average, for 90 g of CO2 per hour. Cloud gaming reportedly produces, on average, almost three times as much as PS4 gaming, with 149 g of CO2 per hour.

Cloud Gaming

The study attributes cloud gaming’s heightened power demands to the extra energy required to connect to servers, power home router, and fuel constant internet access. It does, however, note that this figure is largely dependent on file size and game time. In some instances, cloud gaming outperforms the PS4.

“The findings discussed so far only represent average cases; the size of game files and length of gameplay time were found to be key variables significantly impacting the results. In fact, for games played for under 8 hours, cloud gaming was found to have lower carbon emissions than downloads and is the best method for up to 24 hours when compared to disc.”

The report posits that downloading is better suited to smaller games, bigger titles benefit most from disc/download, while cloud gaming is best for short gaming sessions.

On average, PS4 gaming has the lower carbon footprint. | Source: Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sony to Avoid 30 Million Tonnes of PS4 Carbon Emissions by 2030

According to Sony, the company has avoided 17.5 million tonnes of carbon equivalent emissions from PS4 consoles to date. It aims to push that number to 30 million by 2030. The company points to the efficient power supply, low-power suspend mode and the system-on-a-chip architecture as crucial features for keeping the console’s footprint down.

Looking to the future, Sony says the PS5 will follow in the footsteps of the PS4 with the inclusion of ‘suspend and resume’ features requiring only 0.5 W, or roughly 72% less than that of the PS4. The new standby features can save the equivalent of the average energy use of a 1,000 US homes should one million players enable them.