the video game industry is thinking about its future and is aiming for sobriety

Fun place for such a meeting? Not necessarily. If the opera was at the top of the cultural industry when the building was erected, it is today the video game that is at the top: a world market of 200 billion dollars in 2022. Far ahead of cinema (120 billion) or of music (60 billion). It has therefore well deserved that the organizers of the event …

Fun place for such a meeting? Not necessarily. If the opera was at the top of the cultural industry when the building was erected, it is today the video game that is at the top: a world market of 200 billion dollars in 2022. Far ahead of cinema (120 billion) or of music (60 billion). He therefore deserved that the organizers of the event (the Region, Metropolis, the SO Games association and the Sud Ouest Group) roll out the red carpet for him.

Place de la Comédie, no spectators. The forum is reserved for operators in the sector. It’s “a kind of Davos of video games,” according to Stéphane Bonazza, president of SO Games and vice president of the independent Bordeaux studio Shiro. No game demos. It is rather the recruiting or markets to watch that are on the schedule for the 200 attendees.

Example of the topics addressed here: digital sobriety. Video games are an ever-changing industry. And like all industries, it has an impact on the environment. Bordelais Pierre Forest took the stage to sweep away the sometimes unexpected forms these externalities take.

Not so intangible

The man is wearing two caps. President and co-founder of Gamesplanet.com (Metaboli), he is also a board member of SO Games. In both cases, he questioned the footprint of his business and the steps to take to reduce it. “According to the French Agency for Environmental and Energy Management (Ademe), digital technology emits 4% of greenhouse gases (GHG). We could say ” it is little ”. Only this altitude is on a very upward slope. By 2030 it will have doubled. “

Controller in hand, we do not necessarily realize that we are warming the planet or that we are running out of resources. Especially since games are no longer sold as DVDs wrapped in plastic and shipped by truck. “You would think that digitization has minimized the impact of the industry. In fact, things balance each other out. “

“85% of emissions are related to the simple download of games: gigabytes of data can be converted into grams of CO2”

“At Metaboli, continues the business manager, we have examined where these GHG emissions come from: within our own business, but also upstream and downstream. And we realized that, even if we tried to reduce our travel – all our employees have been working from home since 2014, well before Covid -, it was like “getting wet in the shower”. A small gesture with no global reach. Because it is downstream that everything is played: 85% of emissions are linked to simple game downloads. »The gigabytes of data transmitted and stored run through the infrastructures, and are therefore convertible into grams of CO2.

Video games have another effect on the planet: “It concerns the production of hardware (PC, console, smartphone), which represents 80% of the carbon footprint and also represents a challenge in terms of resources. A very simple example: l “Water.” It takes phenomenal quantities to produce microprocessors. By 2021 the drought in Taiwan had aggravated the shortage. And then there are also the metals and rare earths essential for our consoles and smartphones, “lists the Gamesplanet boss.

Like washing machines

How to face these challenges? As a game distributor, Pierre Forest relies primarily on player information. “When you buy a washing machine, the first thing you look at is its power consumption, rated from A +++ to F. For the moment, this doesn’t exist for PCs or consoles,” notes Bordeaux. Yet consumption can vary from 1 to 10 for the same use depending on the configuration of the computer (poorly adapted power supply, etc.).

What a platform like Gamesplanet can do, to begin with, is scan customers’ machines and tell them if its power can support a particular game, depending on its greed for graphics resources. “This answers the questions that many players are asking, making them aware of the consumption of electricity and the footprint of their business,” hopes Pierre Forest.

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