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Palgrave Macmillan

Digital Games After Climate Change

  • Book
  • © 2022


  • Comprehensively measures the carbon footprint of digital games industry through game development, distribution, and play
  • Intervenes in debates around games powers of persuasion and their ability to catalyse climate consciousness in players
  • Provides practical actions that the digital games industry can take to reduce its climate impact and carbon emissions

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About this book

​This book presents the first sustained analysis of the digital game industry’s carbon footprint and its role in exacerbating global climate change. Identifying the ways videogames can actually help combat the climate crisis, it argues for the urgency of transitioning to a fully carbon neutral games industry, exploring the challenges and opportunities inherent in this undertaking. Beginning with an analysis of debates around the persuasive power of games, the book argues that real impact can only be achieved by focusing on the material conditions of game production – by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from making, selling, and playing games, as well as the hardware used to play them. Abraham makes a compelling argument that a sustainable games industry is possible, and outlines the actions that everyone can take to reduce the harms that digital games cause to people and planet.

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Table of contents (8 chapters)


"Everyone seems to be talking about the climate crisis - and even within the game industry, there is a growing awareness of the environmental impact of videogames. But until Digital Games after Climate Change, no one had yet outlined the shape of this impact with such exacting detail. Abraham brings a scholar's precision to his devastating analysis of how games are negatively affecting our planet. This is a book every game designer, publisher, and player needs to read. From calculating the footprint of shipping disks to itemizing every toxic metal inside a game console, Abraham paints a detailed portrait of the many ways in which creating and playing games is harmful to our global environment. You will never play a videogame the same way again. Digital Games after Climate Change is equal parts horrifying and hopeful. Abraham provides an incredibly detailed account of the dangers of games: from the energy needed to manufacture, distribute, and play them to the toxic metals inside game consoles. At the same time, he takes a close look at the ways that games can change minds and attitudes about the climate crisis. The book powerfully ends with sharp provocations and concrete suggestions about what game players and game creators can do to make things better." —Eric Zimmerman, Game designer & Arts Professor, NYU Game Center. 

"Digital Games After Climate Change confronts the biggest, most urgent existential questions facing videogame makers, players, and researchers: what do we do when the planet is too hot to play digital games? How do digital games themselves contribute to the worsening conditions of our planet? Benjamin Abraham provides answers to these questions that are equal parts startling and instructive, speculative and grounded, critical and hopeful. Moving past too-easy solutions such as designing games that educate about impending ecologic collapse, Abraham provides a sweeping and revealing examination of the material realities underpinning both the production and consumption of digital games. The rare minerals hidden inside the PlayStation 4, the energy usage of both large and small production studios, the logistics of distributing physical games across the world all make themselves known here. Digital Games After Climate Change is important, engaging, and unlike anything else being written about digital games. This is urgently required reading for anyone with an interest in digital games and saving the planet." —Brendan Keogh, Chief Investigator, Digital Media Research Centre (QUT) & President, Digital Games Research Association of Australia.

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Benjamin J. Abraham

About the author

Benjamin J. Abraham has spent the past decade researching digital media and videogames sustainability. He was previously a lecturer in digital and social media at the University of Technology Sydney, an affiliate of the Climate Justice Research Centre, and has recently moved on from academia.

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