How sustainable video games gear makes buying new hardware safer for the planet
GameCentral looks at the environmental policies of hardware companies like Turtle Beach, Razer, and Logitech to see how green they really are.
Gaming is a huge business all around the world but so is its energy consumption. Game consoles alone consume billions of kilowatt-hours of energy per year and are made in plants that are themselves often run on fossil fuels. Games offer the ultimate escapism but recently it’s become harder for games companies to ignore the negative impact they have on the environment.
Businesses understand they can use their massive reach to promote sustainable initiatives and for the past couple of years some of the biggest publishers, including Microsoft and Bandai Namco, have come together for the Playing for the Planet initiative.
This aims to tackle climate change by promoting events such as the yearly Green Game Jam competition. There’s also the Green Games Guide, which is the UK’s first resource that contains practical advice for how the video games industry can help to reduce emissions and waste.
It’s difficult for games hardware and peripherals manufacturers to prove their green credentials. Even though supply chain issues and the cost of living crisis might have stalled our spending, there’s still peer pressure to buy the latest console or liquid cooled PC rig every couple of years.
Sustainability is becoming a core theme for many gaming peripheral companies, though, and with this awareness there’s a search for new methods to produce goods and deliver services in an eco-friendly way. Gaming relies on energy, but the industry has accepted that it needs to select its sources more discerningly, while avoiding being accused of ‘greenwashing’ with merely token efforts.
The industry is working to slow its impact on climate change, and many companies are pushing to lessen their carbon footprints. Some are more proactive than others though and the following peripherals come from companies who have made it a priority to create sustainable solutions for gamers who want to significantly reduce their impact on the environment while still having the best, high-end gaming gear.
If you’re called Turtle Beach, you probably need to make sure there’s going to be some beaches with turtles left on them in the future. In April 2022 Turtle Beach officially announced Play with Purpose, which highlights the company’s current and future initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint, eliminate plastic packaging, reduce packaging size, and add carbon impact labels.
Excess packaging has long been a problem in the food industry but it’s also an issue with lots of electronics hardware, which is why Turtle Beach has committed to reducing plastic use in its packaging by 88% for the company’s Stealth 600 Gen 2 headsets. By 2023, the company aims to introduce carbon neutral products and place carbon impact labelling on select products – which they claim is just as important as the food labelling you see at the supermarket.
Turtle Beach is also looking at how it integrates post-consumer recycled plastics (PCRs) into future products. By 2024, the goal is to incorporate at least 10% PCRs into select products.
The latest 700X headset has had similar reduction in plastics, where the 2017 model contained 125g of plastic but the 2020 version only has 15g. The newer Gen 2 model packaging is now 96% paper products, which carries into the new (2022) 700X Gen 2 MAX model and shares the same reduced plastic/paper proportion.
Keen to go green, Logitech have been promoting their climate initiative ‘Design a Positive Future’, with the entire Logitech G gaming portfolio now certified as carbon neutral and its product packaging fully recyclable. Logitech was the first consumer electronics company to provide detailed carbon impact labelling on product packaging. It now has eight products that carry a carbon footprint label, called Carbon Clarity, similar to those being rolled out by Turtle Beach and Razer.
Recent products, like the Logitech G435 and Astro A10 Gen 2, were specifically designed to reduce their environmental impact, with some Logitech G products having their packaging size reduced by up to 71% – which means less pallets having to be shipped around the world. Logitech has also already made the move to post-consumer recycled plastics (PCR) resins in their peripherals.
‘As a company, we believe positive change is necessary. Change for the environment. Change for inclusion. And an equal playing field for all. The world needs companies to stand up for environmental sustainability and diversity. And Logitech is.’, says CEO Bracken Darrell on the Logitech blog.
Sneki Snek wants you to save the planet. The snake mascot is at the front of Razer’s initiative to #GoGreenWithRazer, which has seen some impressive leaps forward in the last year. Partnering with non-profit organisation Conservation International, for each piece of Sneki Snek eco-merchandise sold Razer has pledged to contribute enough money to save 10 trees. They’ve already conserved over 600 acres of forests, which also saves the endangered wildlife that depends on them for survival.
Just this month, Razer celebrated World Environment Day by announcing the world’s first ECOLOGO certified gaming mice: the Basilisk V3 and the DeathAdder Essential. That means these two products have passed a set of environmental performance standards that include everything from components to packaging, with the specific technical information helping to counter any accusations of greenwashing.
You can’t always take companies’ claims about their working practices at face value, so it will be interesting to see how Razer meets its commitment to transfer its entire operation to 100% renewable energy for all global offices by 2025 and become a 100% carbon neutral organisation by 2030.
Sustainability has been a particular focus at Razer in recent years and as a result they have partnered with several environmentally aware companies, working with ClearBot to help develop their semi-autonomous ocean plastic removing robots and most recently with Panerai watches, and environmental Conservation International, to support marine species research. The latter involves satellite tagging manta rays to gather data on their movement and habitat.
‘We want to make sustainability endemic to gaming,’ Razer’s sustainability manager Kenneth Ng told GameCentral last month.
Already a signatory of the UN Global Compact pact, and aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SteelSeries’ pride and joy, when it comes to sustainability, is its SteelSeries Aerox 3 mouse, which uses 25% less plastic than the average mouse, and their Arctis Pro line of headsets, which uses 20% less plastics than a standard headset.
SteelSeries stresses that all its gaming peripherals are designed for easy disassembly, recycling, and repurposing, while having an inner packaging that is made from 100% recycled paper. They have also reduced keyboard packaging by 57% and headsets by 47%, and they track and report energy consumption and carbon emission for the manufacturing, and transport of their products.
The company is also looking at how they can try and eliminate plastics and move towards 100% sea transportation to reduce carbon emissions.
While it seems like the push for change has come a little late for games industry, it’s a start and it’s encouraging to see game peripheral manufacturers attempting to become carbon neutral. However, it will take not just the efforts of developers and manufacturers but also consumers, to make any significant impact on the climate crisis.
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