GTG Links 45 – Nordic Game Conference, Microsoft's Sustainability Miss, Game Hardware News + Euro public showing no sign of a green backlash

A solar panel "flower" on the campus grounds of Linköping; as shared by Friend of GTG Helen Berents.
A solar panel "flower" on the campus grounds of Linköping University; as shared by Friend of GTG Helen Berents.

Phew! It's been a crazy week here at GTG HQ so let's dive in. Tons of games + tech + sustainability news delivered straight to your inbox.

Are you going to Nordic Game Conference next week? The SGA will be there!

Check out the SGA talk by my colleagues Maria & Jiri if you'll be in Malmö. Sadly I'm staying home here in Australia, but you'll get an update on what we've been working on for the past month and what's yet to come. Very exciting stuff, can't wait for you to see it.

Microsoft's Sustainability report is out

And it's got tongues wagging, though not for the right reasons.

Our 2024 Environmental Sustainability Report - Microsoft On the Issues
Today, Microsoft published the 2024 Environmental Sustainability Report. This report covers fiscal year 2023, and measures progress against our 2020 baseline.

As Bloomberg reports, Microsoft has now missed its (projected) emissions targets three years in a row, with AI & data centre expansion a major contributor. Now I'll be the first to acknowledge that progress on emissions won't always be linear, but I think we are at a point where this is more than a few swings and misses. Are these big one-off emissions increases? Maybe, but do we think AI demand is going to suddenly flatline, or reduce? Something probably needs a rethink here, or for the next six years, Microsoft is going to need to go on the emissions equivalent of a crash-diet.

AAA Graphics

Aftermaths’ Luke Plunkett goes in to bat for changing the existing model of game development - one that relies on “bigger and better graphics” for each new title. The lesson he takes from replaying the Call of Duty series is that we ought to prioritise aspects like design, system and narrative improvements. I agree!

I Want Better Games With Worse Graphics And I’m Not Kidding - Aftermath
I know the saying starts with ‘shorter’ games, but this is about one game in particular

Console sales are down according to AMD


Gaming sales are down ‘a lot’ says AMD as PS5 and Xbox demand drops further
As the gaming world looks doomed to a quiet year in 2024, chip company AMD has highlighted a significant drop in demand.

And some details on the Switch 2 – with cartridge backward compatibility

Hmmmmmmm x2.

Report suggests Switch 2 can play all original Switch games
New Joy-con buttons, 1080p screen also feature in MobaPad’s “first-hand information.”

CFP from Patrick Prax, Clayton Whittle, and Trevin York – a new edited collection on “Sustainable game design: the game needs to change”

In this upcoming publication, we seek to distinguish genuine sustainability efforts from mere green-washing tactics prevalent in the industry. Our editorial team will meticulously review abstract submissions, selecting those with potential to offer substantive insights and practical solutions to the pressing challenges of sustainability in gaming and a compelling vision for how we can achieve a sustainable future.
Call for Abstracts - Uppsala University

New research on the cost of climate impacts

This is perhaps the single most important contribution to understanding climate impacts in months – perhaps all year. Super, super important – these findings put the whole inadequate climate economics edifice into stark relief. Compare these numbers to Nordhaus & co's (Nobel Prize winning!!!) models that suggest even 3ºC of warming would have only a small impact on GDP! To anyone not up their own proverbial, this was always totally unrealistic. This work matches far more what the science and simple observation of present levels of warming have started to suggest. There's no growing our way out of 12% global GDP damage per degree of warming.

New recyclable PCB:

“vPCBs work by replacing most of the PCB material with vitrimer. Vitrimer is best thought of as a highly engineered polymer jelly that can be either solidified to create a PCB or swelled to make it possible to pluck out components for reuse or recycling. With this process, which should be compatible with existing manufacturing processes, researchers were able to recover 98% of the vitrimer and 100% of the glass fiber by recycling a vPCB.”
New PCB design is repeatably recyclable — vitrimer PCBs could save millions of tons in eWaste, say UW researchers
vPCBs can be recycled with 98% vitrimer recovery and 100% glass fiber recovery.

After the jump: green finance research, a massive new report on global forest management, a chart of climate policies and their baked in warming, and Euro public attitudes polling showing no signs of dampening enthusiasm for climate action.