Report: Game Consoles Waste Energy

November 19, 2008 -

My wife already thinks that I waste too much time on video games. Wait until she finds out that I'm wasting energy, too.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council maintains that game consoles can significantly add to consumers' electric bills. In fact, across the United States, consoles consume as much juice in a year as the combined total of residential electricity users in San Diego.

The solution? One piece of the puzzle is not to leave your system on when you're done playing. NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz commented:

If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing. With so many struggling in today’s economy – it’s important to realize there are simple steps gamers can take to lower their energy costs. And if manufacturers make future systems more energy efficient, they’ll be doing the right thing for consumers’ pockets, for our clean energy future, and for the environment.

Among the big three, the PlayStation 3 is the energy hog of the bunch, consuming 150 watts per hour in active mode. The Xbox 360 isn't far behind, at 119. The Nintendo Wii, on the other hand, is the console of choice for the conservation-minded, drawing just 16 watts in active mode.

The NRDC claims that a combination of more efficient console hardware and educating gamers to use power-saving features currently built into the 360 and later PS3 models would save consumers a billion dollars a year and cut down on the type of pollution that leads to global warming.

Other goodies from the must-read report:

  • watching a movie on your PS3 consumers 5 times the power of using a stand-alone Blu-Ray player
  • average annual energy cost for a launch model (2006) PS3 user is $160
  • the 2007 PS3 is more efficient: annual cost is $134
  • For launch (2006) Xbox 360 users, it's $143; drops to $103 for 2007 models (GP: less RROD as well!!)
  • it costs $10 per year to operate a Wii
  • the game industry and game media should encourage console owners to use auto power-down features built into the 360 and PS3
  • the next hardware generation should be more efficient and have auto-power down
  • an auto-save feature should preserve game progress when the system auto-powers down
  • controllers should have a "sleep" button

Grab the full report here.

165 comments

Game Retailers: Game Packaging is Green

October 28, 2008 -

Game consoles may be full of noxious stuff, but game packaging is green, baby.

At least, that's the word from the Entertainment Merchants Association, the trade group which represents hundreds of video game and DVD retailers.

In partnership with the Content Delivery and Storage Association, the EMA has just released the results of a study into what consumers do with game and DVD packaging. Conducted by the NPD Group, the research makes games seem environmentally friendly:

  • Rather than discarding video game and DVD packaging, consumers overwhelmingly store their video games and DVDs in their original cases
  • when consumers no longer want to keep a game or DVD, they rarely throw it away or recycle it
  • 45 % of DVD owners give the title to someone else, as will 24 % of game owners
  • 54% of game owners will trade it in or sell it; the trade/sell rate is 27 % for DVDs
  • 89% of DVD owners and 88 % of game owners store their DVDs and games in their original cases
  • only 6% of DVD owners and 5% of video game owners throw away or recycle the cases.

Of the results, EMA CEO Bo Andersen commented:

In packaged home entertainment, consumers view the packaging cases as part of the product and not something to be tossed. The cases provide product protection, allow easy title identification, and carry the artwork that is integral to the consumer’s association with the title.


GP: An interesting and obvious conclusion is that trading in used games is not only good for consumers, it's good for the environment. Now, about that landfill full of E.T. cartridges...

So, GP readers, what do you do with your old games?

25 comments

Consoles to Receive Standards from Energy Star

October 15, 2008 -

Tree Hugger reports that console makers Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft will soon receive compliance guidelines from Energy Star, the government agency that encourages efficient use of power:

Gaming consoles are finally getting some attention from Energy Star, whose new 5.0 specifications will take a look at the power consumption of these devices and set more stringent standards.

Starting July 2009, PlayStations, Xboxes, Wiis and similar consoles will at last have some requirements on how efficient they must be to earn an Energy Star seal of approval...  With an effective date of July 1, 2010, manufacturers should have some time between the new standards set in 2009 and the next round of consoles coming off the lines in 2010 to create energy efficient devices.

Via: Kotaku

39 comments

Online Game: Go Hunting with Sarah Palin

October 14, 2008 -

Atom.com has posted the latest in a string of Sarah Palin parody games.

Hunting with Palin casts the player in the role of America's best-known hockey mom as she takes aim at endangered Alaskan wildlife as well as Russian ships, subs and Migs. Those pesky Commies are just across the way, you know...

Points off for hitting Eskimo dog sled teams, snowmobilers, oil rigs or John McCain, who occasionally pops out.

1 comment

Polar Palin: First Sarah Palin Game Has Landed

September 12, 2008 -

On Tuesday GamePolitics took note of the release of a Sarah Palin action figure and wondered how long it would take for a Palin-based game to hit the web.

Answer: Three days.

Today, U.K.-based T-Enterprise has unveiled Polar Palin.

In the game the player controls a dynamite-equipped polar bear who attempts to blow up Palin-driven "campaign tanks" as well as oil rigs.

What's it all about? Here is the explanation given on the game site:

The U.S. recently classified the Alaskan polar bear as a threatened species because of the destruction of its natural habitat. It is predicted that the population of bears could be reduced by two-thirds by the year 2050 due to pollution and global warming.

 

The state of Alaska, led by Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is to sue the U.S. interior secretary to reverse the decision amid fears that it will hinder oil and gas development.

 

27 comments

Wal-Mart Wants to Turn the Game Biz Green

September 6, 2008 -

Perhaps the video game industry is taking environmental concerns raised by Greenpeace last year to heart?

According to Walmart’s official blog, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, and a few publishers such as EA and Activision recently attended a green gaming summit where they discussed various ways to be more environmentally friendly.  Here are a few suggestions reported by Joe Muha, Walmart’s gadgets and gaming guy:

  • Switching to cardboard packaging would be like taking almost 4,000 cars off the road in terms of equivalent green house gas emissions. 
  • Working with console manufacturers on coding and power usage design can reduce the power consumption when we use our devices for media playback. 
  • Focusing on the next generation of consoles would allow the machines to be built from the ground up to use less power while providing an even better experience. 
  • Developing software and hardware that allows us to save the game so we do not have to leave it on would allow us to turn it off during a meal break or overnight without loosing our place. Additionally, come clever programming would allow the console to go into a lower power, standby mode when not in use.

Muha elaborates on the game save issue in his blog’s comments section:

Not every game allows us to save whenever we would like. We even discussed the idea of an "autosave" if the game is left alone after a set period of time and the console would go to a low power mode.

Via: Kotaku

-Reporting from San Diego, GamePolitics Correspondent Andrew Eisen

135 comments

At DNC, No Child Left Inside Group Blames Video Games

August 30, 2008 -

A friend attended the Democratic National Convention in Denver this week. Among the many items he snagged was a pamphlet from the No Child Left Inside Coalition, a group which seeks to foster environmental awareness and activity among young people.

That's all quite commendable. Less praiseworthy, however, is the fact that the group's brochure (obtained by GP) takes a cheap shot at video games in its opening paragraph:

Young people across America are spending more and more time inside - hooked up to video games, computers, and television, instead of learning, playing and exploring outside. The results are profound: increases in childhood obesity, a lack of understanding of the environment and a disconnection from the natural world.

Why some kids don't go outside or don't get enough exercise or are overweight would seem to be very complex social issues involving a myriad of factors, including available recreational opportunities, socioeconomic status, neighborhood safety, parenting, nonstop marketing of high-calorie food and drinks, etc.

Thumbs-down to No Child Left Inside for pointing the finger at video games...

56 comments

"Britain's Got Crabs" Game Highlights American Crayfish Invasion

August 25, 2008 -

Earlier this year the BBC reported that the introduction of the highly aggressive American signal crayfish had essentially killed sport fishing in Scotland's Loch Ken.

With the region's traditional fishing tourism in steep decline, the economic health of towns around the Loch is in jeopardy.

By way of publicizing the crisis T-Enterprise has created Britain's Got Crabs, a Flash game which challenges "British Beavers" to shoot waves of the crayfish. It's not much of a game, but it does help to raise awareness of the ecologic crisis in the Loch.

GP: The game is embedded here, so if you'd like to try it just click Play...

12 comments

Games for Change Design Contest Winners Announced in Paris

July 11, 2008 -

Games for Change has issued a press release announcing the winners of the Xbox 360 Games for Change Challenge.

The announcement came at the Louvre in Paris.

Each of the entries was created using Microsoft's XNA Game Studio software. The winners are:

  1. CityRain from Mother Gaia Studio in Brazil
  2. Future Flow from Belgium’s Drunk Puppy
  3. CleanUp from the South Korean team Gomz

Suzanne Seggerman, President and Co-founder of Games for Change, commented:

What’s most exciting about this game contest is that not only are the brightest young people from around the world engaged in creating these new games, they are also laying the foundation for a new genre – socially-responsible video games. And this is where it all begins.

Games for Change bills itself as "the primary non-profit behind the new movement using video games to promote social change." The organization teamed up with Microsoft to offer the game design contest  based on environmental themes.

3 comments

Blog Traces History of NYC in Video Games

April 23, 2008 -
Everyone who follows video games knows by now that Liberty City, the setting for the hotly-anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV, is an ultra-realistic depiction of New York.

But the Big Apple has been the setting for many a past video game, according to The Bowery Boys:
The difficult part is actually figuring out, in fact, if a game takes place in New York. For instance, Frogger could take place in New York, if the West Side Highway straddled a Hudson River full of logs and turtles. Pac-Man is certainly a metaphoric representation of the Financial District. If Donkey Kong is an homage to King Kong, wouldn't that mean he's throwing barrels from the Empire State Building?

...In 1984, anxious Atari and Commodore 64 owners got their hands on a more literal tribute to the city -- The Big Apple. In the simple game, a player maneuvers through a traffic free midtown Manhattan... This game looks a bit like a malfunctioning digital watch and was appropriately forgotten.

The Bowery Boys go on to list several old school titles, including Punch Out!!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Manhattan Project.
The first [game] to make a real attempt at a recognizable New York landscape was probably 1989's Manhunter: New York, a clunky and mostly unexciting action game set in the post-apocalyptic future of 2002. However it did manage to depict city landmarks in ways that were at least recognizable, if primitive...

The excellent write-up also names games such as Duke Nukem: Zero Hour, Deus Ex, Max Payne and XIII, while noting True Crime: New York City as a turning point for its realistic depiction of NYC. It's definitely worth a read.
11 comments

Game Over for New Mexico Video Game Tax

February 16, 2008 -

New Mexico's much-discussed No Child Left Inside Act has been left out in the cold by state legislators.

More properly known as HB583, the bill proposed by Rep. Gail Chasey (left) would have levied a 1% surcharge on video games and TV sets. The measure enjoyed the support of environmental group the Sierra Club.

But the Associated Press is now reporting that HB583 has failed to clear the New Mexico Legislature's House Business & Industry Committee. From the AP:
 

The measure had been backed by a broad coalition of groups, led by the Sierra Club. The fund would have helped pay for outdoor education throughout the state. The tax would have been the first of its kind in the nation...


 

Critics complained they shouldn’t have to foot the bill for parents who don’t know how to raise their children.

 

16 comments

Eco-Creatures: Environmental Awareness Comes to Nintendo DS

February 1, 2008 -
Seattle's KING-5 has a report on Majesco's upcoming real-time strategy game Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest for the Nintendo DS:
Majesco Entertainment says Eco-Creatures: Save the Forest is the only one of its kind to promote awareness of the perils of "…over-industrialization, deforestation, pollution, extinction and global warming."

With proper care, the creatures can evolve to learn new abilities that help complete the game’s more than 40 environmental missions.

GameSpot has more:
As the name implies, Eco-Creatures is an awfully green game... It's very environmentally friendly... The graphical style may be awfully cutesy, but it looks like there's quite a bit of depth and complexity to the gameplay, so older, tactically minded DS owners may want to give it a look as well.

Eco-Creatures launches on March 4th.
19 comments

 
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Is King right? Should all games adopt the free-to-play model?:

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MaskedPixelanteNumber 3: Night Dive was brought to the attention of the public by a massive game recovery, and yet most of their released catalogue consists of games that other people did the hard work of getting re-released.04/17/2014 - 8:46pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 2: If Humongous Entertainment wanted their stuff on Steam, why didn't they talk to their parent company, which does have a number of games published on Steam?04/17/2014 - 8:45pm
MaskedPixelanteNumber 1: When Night Dive spent the better part of a year teasing the return of true classics, having their big content dump be edutainment is kind of a kick in the stomach.04/17/2014 - 8:44pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.giantbomb.com/articles/jeff-gerstmann-heads-to-new-york-takes-questions/1100-4900/ He talks about the future games press and the games industry. It is worth your time even though it is a bit long, and stay for the QA. There are some good QA04/17/2014 - 5:28pm
IanCErm so they shouldn't sell edutainment at all? Why?04/17/2014 - 4:42pm
MaskedPixelanteNot that linkable, go onto Steam and there's stuff like Pajama Sam on the front-page, courtesy of Night Dive.04/17/2014 - 4:13pm
Andrew EisenOkay, again, please, please, PLEASE get in a habit of linking to whatever you're talking about.04/17/2014 - 4:05pm
MaskedPixelanteAnother round of Night Dive teasing and promising turns out to be stupid edutainment games. Thanks for wasting all our time, guys. See you never.04/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the consequences were not only foreseeable, but very likely. anyone who understood supply demand curvs knew that was going to happen. SF has been a econ/trade hub for the last hundred years.04/17/2014 - 2:45pm
Andrew EisenMixedPixelante - Would you like to expand on that?04/17/2014 - 2:43pm
MaskedPixelanteWell, I am officially done with Night Dive Studios. Unless they can bring something worthwhile back, I'm never buying another game from them.04/17/2014 - 2:29pm
PHX Corphttp://www.msnbc.com/ronan-farrow/watch/video-games-continue-to-break-the-mold-229561923638 Ronan Farrow Daily on Video games breaking the mold04/17/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoAh yes, because by building something nice they were just asking for people to come push them out. Consequences are protested all the time when other people are implementing them.04/17/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew Wilsonok than they should not protest when the consequences of that choice occur.04/17/2014 - 1:06pm
NeenekoIf people want tall buildings, plenty of other cities with them. Part of freedom and markets is communities deciding what they do and do not want built in their collective space.04/17/2014 - 12:55pm
Sora-ChanI realize that they have ways getting around it, but one reason might be due to earthquakes.04/17/2014 - 4:42am
Matthew WilsonSF is a tech/ economic/ trade center it should be mostly tail building. this whole problem is because of the lack of tail buildings. How would having tail apartment buildings destroy SF? having tail buildings has not runed other cities around the US/world04/16/2014 - 10:51pm
Matthew WilsonAgain the issue is you can not build upwards anywhere in SF at the moment, and no you would not. You would bring prices to where they should have been before the market distortion. those prices are not economic or socially healthy.04/16/2014 - 10:46pm
ZippyDSMleeYou still wind up pushing people out of the non high rise aeras but tis least damage you can do all things considered.04/16/2014 - 10:26pm
ZippyDSMleeANd by mindlessly building upward you make it like every place else hurting property prices,ect,ect. You'll have to slowly segment the region into aeras where you will never build upward then alow some aeras to build upward.04/16/2014 - 10:25pm
 

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