GTG Links 38 – 2023 hardware numbers + nuclear data centres ++ the end of discs?

GTG Links 38 – 2023 hardware numbers + nuclear data centres ++ the end of discs?
Photo by Chris Yates / Unsplash

David Lumb’s CNET article is out

I think he worked on this one for most of last year. We first chatted about the topic pre-GDC last year, a lot has happened since. Nice to see it out finally.

Video Games Are Finally Waking Up to Climate Change
What will games have to give up to help create a sustainable future?

The end of Xbox physical distribution???

Could the rumour of Xbox removing physical Starfield copies from stores be the first step towards an exclusively digital distribution model? Whether it's for sustainability reasons (as I argued for in DGACC), or for business/platform/control reasons (which would get me a lot less excited tbh!) the change would avoid tons and tons of plastic every year.

I've heard rumours for a while that the PS5 was originally intended as a fully digital-only console but for ~business reasons~ pulled back from that late in the piece. I think that particular rumour is at least plausible, as it explains why the disc-based PS5 looks like a console with a tumour).

Videogame hardware sales numbers up in Europe

Across tracked European markets, 7.4 million video game consoles were sold in 2023, which is a rise of nearly 42% over the year before. This is mostly due to the PS5, which saw a 177% increase in sales year-on-year. PS5 suffered severe stock issues during 2022.

I don't think we've seen an LCA for the PS5 yet, but if it's the same as the Ps4 (~50 kg CO2e each) then manufacturing European PS5's sold year has cost the carbon budget at least another 370,000 tonnes of CO2e.

Video game sales up 1.7% in Europe during 2023 | European Annual Report
Small growth for game sales across Europe, but console sales up significantly due to PS5

Monthly active user split across publishers

It's a pity this report only has the %age shifts, rather than absolute numbers for reach. I was hoping it would let us make some educated guesses about total MAU on consoles? Still, Epic has been at the forefront of end-user emissions reductions, so maybe that's good for end-user emissions?

Epic finally claims top spot for publisher MAU share on console
In December 2023, Epic Games became the leading publisher by monthly active user (MAU) share across PlayStation and Xbox, surpassing long-standing leader EA, whilst Take-Two overtook Activision Blizzard thanks to surges in Grand Theft Auto V and LEGO 2K Drive.

Company boards not addressing their own climate risks

I completely agree with this – at least as far as the games industry goes – having read so many TCFD disclosures for the Games Industry Sustainability Benchmark. The general level of awareness of very real and very predictable physical risks from climate change is deeply worrying.

Semiconductor supply chains in areas of high water stress

RMI report on saving from shifting away from FFs

The Great Reallocation - RMI
Contrary to popular belief, the buildout of renewable energy supply does not require a surge in capital expenditure.

Super interesting dive into Apple’s “Grid Forecast” model

Which seems like it leaves a lot to be desired.

Investigating Apple’s Clean Grid Forecast
Apple recently released their Grid Forecast that predicts specific times as “More Clean”. Without much public information available, we decided to investigate.

Discounting the Future

It argues that our relationship to the future has been trapped in the gears of a device called discounting. While its incidence remains little known, discounting has long been entrenched in market and policy practices, shaping the ways firms and governments look to the future and make decisions accordingly. Thus, a sociological account of discounting formulas has become urgent.
Discounting the Future
A pioneering exploration of the defining traits and contradictions of our relationship to the future through the lens of discounting

New climate denial research from The Center for Countering Digital Hate

Pexapark’s overview of the biggest PPA deals in 2023 has some interesting details

The largest deals of 2023, aggregating 3GW of contracted volumes, reveal some patterns. First, the lion’s share is linked to solar pv assets, with the technology taking up over 80% of the volumes with 2.4GW. This contradicts last year’s picture, where onshore wind dominated… Second, the top deals are concentrated in two countries: Spain and Germany. That’s yet another interesting insight, as it’s the first time Germany appears in the Top 5 Deals list. IT conglomerate Amazon holds two spots, both linked to solar pv sprees in Spain. Nonetheless, the balance between corporate and utility offtakers in the Top 5 deals is relatively even, as two of the largest deals were catalysed by utility offtakes assuming price risk. The 600MW solar pv deal in Germany between Shell Europe Energy and Hansainvest Real Assets is the largest publicly announced back-to-back PPAs, where a utility contracts large volumes with an asset owner, having the certainty that part or whole volumes can be contracted back-to-back with a corporate offtaker. In this case. Shell Energy Europe will sell a 323MW stake to Microsoft. This practice gives confidence to utilities to assume larger risks, knowing that not all risk will be deposited in their books for a long time.

Read here: (requires a login)

Zendesk has its new SBTi targets approved

Including this very ambitious supply-chain target:

Zendesk further commits that 68.4% of its suppliers by emissions, covering purchased goods and services, and capital goods, will have science-based targets by 2027.”

ASML makes the machines that make chips

Absolutely fascinating detail about how ASML produces the machines that everyone uses to make semiconductors.

Does Europe at last have an answer to Silicon Valley?
ASML, a mighty Dutch tech firm, is at the heart of a critical supply chain

Microsoft planning SMR’s for data centre power

This makes me deeply, deeply uneasy.

Microsoft hires leaders for nuclear datacenter program
Industry vets specialize in the development of small modular reactors

Been a super busy January, lot's more coming up in 2024. Help spread the word about Greening the Games Industry by sharing it with someone who might find it interesting.