For this year’s Green Studio of the Year Award, we had probably one of the toughest calls yet. As part of the Gamescom goes green initiative, all exhibitors who have a sustainability concept in place for their Gamescom activities had the chance to apply for this year’s award.
We recognize that there isn’t one way to do this well, and therefore, we have been looking for bold, system-changing, innovative, and creative ways to tackle the climate crisis. Two applicants went toe-to-toe in the battle to win this year’s sustainability accolade. The 2023 winner clinched it literally by a finger-nail, but in the end the work that Xbox have put into their Sustainability Toolkit took it.
The Toolkit offers the chance for emissions to be avoided upstream in game design making use of power dashboards and certification reports which enable game designers to optimise games to run efficiently and cut emissions while making sure gamers don’t even notice. It’s this systemic, open-source approach for those making games to be conscious of the choices they make in game design that makes it hard to beat.The risk with tools is that often they can be ignored, making them something that sound great but are left unused.
The good news on the Xbox sustainability toolkit is that they are already being used. Epic tested the tool which led them to saving 200 megawatts a day in Fortnite by increasing energy efficiency, saving gamers money without any impact on game-play. 334 Industries were also able to decrease energy usage by 15% with no impact to player experience by tweaking the resolution of the game menu. More is set to come with the toolkit as well as support to players (and we’ll be talking with Playstation to see what they could adopt from Xbox’s approach).
Second place is rough, particularly when it’s a toss-up, but Ubisoft do deserve recognition for their integration of green activations in play, which are possibly world-leading right now. Not only did they put forward 19 games into the Green Game Jam, they have also created a playbook for integrating green activations across all genres of games as well as a Climate School training programme and a request of their suppliers to have science based targets by 2026.
We’ll be looking to break down all the components of the submissions so that others can learn from them. Awards are important, they mark the progress made to date and set a baseline for others to aspire to. We look forward to seeing what 2024 brings.
More information on the criteria that we have looked at for this award category can be found on the Gamescom website here.
More information on the Xbox sustainability toolkit can be found in Microsoft’s article here and in case of questions don't hesitate to reach out to XboxSustainability@Microsoft.com.