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Sony's PS5 and Microsoft's Xbox join the fight against climate change

The companies promise greener gaming consoles.

PlayStation Xbox
The PlayStation and Xbox will receive some Earth-friendly changes. 
Sarah Tew/CNET

Both Sony and Microsoft on Monday committed to making their future video game consoles better for the planet. The two console makers laid out their plans alongside the UN Climate Summit as part of the Playing for the Planet Alliance

Microsoft will start a pilot program to create 825,000 carbon neutral Xbox consoles, the company said in a press release Sunday. It said these will be the first video game consoles to achieve that goal. 

Sony will focus on the upcoming PlayStation 5's energy consumption. The Japanese company will improve the next console's low-power suspend mode to make it more efficient than the PlayStation 4. Sony said if 1 million users make use of the PS5's energy-saving feature, it'll save the equivalent of the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes. Sony will also reassess its carbon footprint in its gaming service and data centers. 

The Playing for the Planet Alliance is a joint effort among the console manufacturers, publishers, developers and Twitch through various eco-friendly initiatives, spreading awareness, and reducing carbon emissions and power consumption. 

"The video games industry has the ability to engage, inspire and captivate the imaginations of billions of people across the world. This makes them a hugely important partner in addressing the climate emergency," said Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in a release Monday. "We are encouraged by the commitment of these gaming companies, which shows recognition that we all must play our role in the global effort to lower carbon emissions and effect real change towards sustainability."

A 2012 study showed the PS3 and Xbox 360 wasted billions of dollars in energy costs when in standby

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