The “live in the pod, eat the bugs” ideology is coming for video games, with a leading tech publication, CNET, attacking gamers who use high-powered gaming PCs as a threat to the climate, while praising developers who deliberately restrict the quality of their games in order to save resources.
CNET, one of the earliest media outlets dedicated solely to tech coverage, recently adopted a new tagline: “your guide to a better future.” It has also grouped together its coverage of emissions-reducing tech under a category called “CNET Zero.”
One of its targets: the video game industry, and the gamers who buy its products.
“The gaming industry has been slow to recognize that creating and playing video games consumes a lot of energy and produces emissions — which contributes to climate change,” huffs CNET writer David Lumb in a lengthy article.
“While the video game industry is paying more attention to sustainability, only a portion of gaming companies release climate impact data,” writes Lumb. “Even fewer account for how much energy is used by gamers around the world.”
Using the few estimates that have been made, Lumb identifies a new climate-change villain: the hardcore gamer, with a high-powered gaming PC.
Microsoft estimates that the average gamer with a high-performance gaming device consumes 72 kilograms of carbon dioxide annually. In the US alone, gamers generate 24 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, according to a Project Drawdown report.
Ubisoft, a notoriously woke gaming studio, is not woke enough for Lumb, who once again implies that the energy required to play Ubisoft titles (which include Assassins Creed and Far Cry) is too high.
We can get one window into the sheer scale of these emissions from one of the world’s largest game studios, Ubisoft. Of the company’s annual carbon footprint (which was 148 kilotons of carbon dioxide in 2021), only 5% to 10% is from the company’s direct operations. The remaining emissions break down to around 10% to 15% to distribute games over networks and into retail stores, 40% for producing gaming devices and 40% for player use, including the energy used to power PCs and consoles.
On Twitter, Lumb beat the same drum, calling gaming a “pastime with a price for the planet.”
Gaming is a pastime with a price for the planet. But game developers, researchers and some companies are collaborating to figure out how we can keep playing without warming our world. https://t.co/sjL7Yaon8j
— David Lumb (@OutOnALumb) May 22, 2023
His article was not without praise for some areas of the game industry. Early in the piece, he singles out a game developer who deliberately uses “fuzzy,” 1990s-era visuals in order to reduce the consumption of computing resources:
To further reduce its carbon impact, her next game, Known Mysteries, uses highly compressed video footage to shrink its data footprint. In stark contrast to the ultra-high-definition images found in today’s top-tier games, the visuals are as fuzzy as videos from old Encarta CD encyclopedias. Unlike modern big-budget titles, which often top 100GB, an early version of her game was just 200MB in size — intentionally constrained game design, resulting in lower impact on the climate.
CNET’s not-so-subtle demand for a reduction in the quality of both video games and the machines capable of playing them is hardly surprising. It fits in with a longstanding trend affecting virtually every industry.
Across the western world, there is an elite-led movement to force the population to accept a lower quality of life in the name of combating “man made climate change.”
This can be seen in everything from efforts to ban gas stoves to the ongoing campaign against eating meat due to the emissions produced by livestock farming.
Particularly in Europe, an elite-led push to achieve “Net Zero” emissions has contributed to spiraling energy costs and the rationing of produce in some UK grocery stores.
Even establishment institutions have warned that “Net Zero” targets are unmanageable. The UK Citizens Advice Bureau has warned of “unmanageable” costs to ordinary homeowners by policies forcing them to adopt expensive updates to heating and gas systems.
The deputy governor of the Bank of Italy, meanwhile, has warned that Net Zero targets will “blow up” Europe’s economy and would result in historic buildings being torn down to be replaced with “energy efficient” ones if the goals are taken to their logical conclusion.
Even as ordinary people suffer, elites press on, with Europe’s largest bank banning investments in new oil and gas projects even as the continent struggles to overcome an energy crisis. In France, the government has banned short-haul flights, in a move hailed by the government as a “pioneering” policy.
The elite-led movement responsible for all this is now targeting gamers. They’ve been forced to retreat from attacks on this community in the past. Will it be the same this time?
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.
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