Can MMO Gamers have fun & help save the enviroment?

Recently I logged into EQ2, and I was running around Freeport when I noticed something: about 30-40 people standing AFK near the broker. Now normally this is a fairly common practice, so I paid it no mind. When I noticed this, it was about noon. So I went on my merry way, finishing some quests and HQ’s, and went back to West Freeport at about 5:30 PM. As I hit the broker, I estimated that 90% or more of those people who were AFK when I started were still there, AFK. Now I do understand that being AFK doesn’t necessarily mean you are completely out of the game; you may be chatting with guildies, doing other things. However, not one of these people had moved their spots at all. So for 5 hours, as far as I could tell, those people were just sitting in there, staying logged online for no real reason other than they were too lazy to turn their game off.   Not to mention, EQ2 has a lot fewer people playing than a game like WoW, where Shattrath and the other major cities have people standing there idle for hours, sometimes days!  I then started to wonder, just how much energy was that using?

For my post, I’m going to give you a few figures here that will factor in to my discussion. Electricity on the whole is measured in kilowatts, or kW. 1 kW = 1000 watts. A watt is defined as: “The standard unit of power in the US . A unit of light power equal to 1/746 horsepower”… uh… ok? There are many other definitions out there that are far more technical, but this is probably the easiest to understand. Most of our appliances are rated in watts, which the amount of energy it takes to run the device for one hour. Most of our power stations are measuring their output in hundreds of kw or in mW (Mega Watts – 1 million watts).

So I did a little math. Let’s assume for the sake of argument, that the average PC’s Power Supply Unit (PSU) is rated at about 350 Watts. That means for each hour that the machine is running, it consumes 350 watts of energy. That’s a pretty average number for a stock PC that you bought from a big box retailer (Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc). Now obviously if your system is running multiple hard drives, or bigger/more powerful Graphics Cards, it needs more juice to run. My system that I use currently has a GeForce 8800 GTS Video card it in, that is a PCI-E Card. I need to use a 450W PSU to keep it happy. Double video cards, multiple hard drives, and you could easily run 700W or more. But for this example, we’ll stick with 35oW. (I’m not even factoring in the monitors, which are even more energy hungry). So if you leave your system logged on, in game, for 5 hours, that’s 1,750 Watts, or 1.75kW that you’ve consumed, for no real reason. Now think about a light bulb. An average light bulb in your house burns 75 Watts an hour. So by leaving your computer on for 5 hours, you consumed the same amount of power as lighting up a 75 watt light bulb for 23.3 hours. Almost one full day for a lightbulb, in exchange for 5 less hours on your PC. Again, not factoring in the monitor. With that added in you’re probably closer to 2 full days.

Now that’s just for one person. We easily have over 10-20 million MMO players globally, and that could be a low number. so taking that same number, and doing some extrapolation, you see that 10 million MMO players playing their PC’s for one hour consumes 3,500,000,000 kw. That’s enough electricty to let one light bulb burn for 46,666,666 hours, or 5327.25 years. Still think that’s a small number? Think of the tons of coal, barrels of oil, and meters and meters of LNG that is consumed to create that energy, and you’re talking some serious natural resources.

Now granted, what I’m saying here is a very pie in the sky example, but just think of the impact we as gamers can have by simply turning off our PCs when we have to go AFK for extended periods of time. No, I’m not asking gamers to go 100% green. Hell, I’m not even asking gamers to play less, (though it’s probably a good idea in the long run). I understand it’s a pain in the ass to power down the game, and turn off the system, but at most you’re adding 2-3 minutes to the amount of time it takes to get back into the game; we’re not talking a very long time period, folks. an extra 2-3 minutes by all of us, and we make the world a better place for not only ourselves, but the future generation of gamers that hopefully will be coming along. Just something to think about.

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~ by trollonfire on October 25, 2007.

5 Responses to “Can MMO Gamers have fun & help save the enviroment?”

  1. You assume that these people were really AFK and not broker bots.

    I wouldn’t guess that they were all bots… but I would bet a good percentage of them were.

    So they were both cheating AND wasting electricity.

  2. Interesting thought 🙂 Also, there are WAY more than 10-20 million MMO players, especially if you include F2P MMO’s. Like the blog, keep it up.

  3. kanthalos – Spelling is overrated… however spellchecker ftw! And yes, I realize my numbers are low, but I was trying to be conservative. If I say 50 million, or even 30 million, people probably wouldn’t take the numbers as seriously… plus it gives me some fudge room up if I am in fact way low, as your so properly state I probably am.

    Wilhelm – very true. But you all know the friend/guildmate/person on your server who’s AFK 16 out of 24 hours, who have 200+ days played time, and have never botted in their lives. It’s THOSE people I’m trying to (hopefully) reach and get to understand the difference they can make by simply turning the PC off. But I certainly take your point 🙂

  4. I don’t just let any MMO’s run that I am playing so that I can know precisely how much of my life I have wasted 🙂

  5. I know that person in our guild. I tried to tell him on the guild channel but… well… he was AFK.

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