Talking Green Gaming with Marina Psaros, Unity’s Lead for Environment and Sustainability

To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, we’ll need action from every sector, but the gaming industry hasn’t been a prominent warrior for climate action. In fact, the gaming industry accounts for about 2.4% of residential electricity use in the US each year, and produces as much carbon dioxide as 5 million cars. Now, a new player has entered the fray. Unity Technologies, a leading platform for developing interactive, real-time 3D content with over 5,000 employees, has announced a pledge to reach net zero within the next ten years.

 

We spoke to Marina Psaros, the Lead of Environment and Sustainability at Unity Technologies, about why it’s so important that the gaming industry take steps toward net zero and how other companies in the sector can facilitate significant change. We also discussed how Unity aims to lead the gaming industry to net zero two decades before the rest of the nation by:

  • Leveraging carbon offsets against its 2020 emissions
  • Redesigning internal processes to lower emissions
  • Funding and aligning with other climate-motivated organizations and signing on to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C

 

Already, Unity is helping other companies and developers join the progress, hosting the Unity for Humanity 2021 summit on October 12th, which included panels that explore how creators can and do inspire awareness and action through gaming and development, and how technology pioneered by gaming companies like Unity can have sustainable applications beyond gaming. During the panel Digital Twins for Sustainability, speakers discussed how 3D modeling and simulations are helping engineers and scientists gather data with speed, affordability, and low waste.

 

During our talk, Marina emphasized the impact that sustainable practices can have both in the virtual world and IRL, stating: “Understanding that there are this many people playing video games is amazing, and we’re all using energy to play those games. So, we need to make sure that our data centers and our cloud are running on clean energy.” She continued, “But then there is a huge opportunity we have to change culture. A lot of big games…have started rewarding players for actions they take in the real world. If we use our resources, we can really shift culture around what it means to be an ‘environmentalist.’”

 

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