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Greenpeace: Console-makers Playing Dirty

Posted by: Matt Vella on May 21

greenpeace.jpgGreenpeace is taking on the major gaming console manufacturers. The group of outspoken greenniks is accusing the big gaming three – Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony – of “playing dirty” because their hardware contains harmful or toxic chemicals. On May 20, Greenpeace released an in-depth report on the hazardous materials used in the manufacturing of console systems, which is available here.

Greenpeace also launched a tongue-in-cheek (way in there) mini-Web site, dubbed Clash of the Consoles. The site sets out the case against the manufacturers, even comparing the three on criteria such as toxic chemical use, environmental corporate policy, recycling activities, and even the energy consumption of individual pieces of hardware. (Shame on you, Playstation 3, for sucking so much wattage.)

By way of introduction to the initiative, Greenpeace writes:

“In gamespace, everybody wants to save the world. But back here on planet Earth, your favorite games console contains deadly agents of real destruction: toxic chemicals that shouldn’t be there and may be contributing to mountains of e-waste when thrown away. Clash of the Consoles is the website where you can check out how your favorite game heroes stand up against their rivals, and how you can help battle the boss monsters to green their game.”

The mock site also features representations of Mario, Halo’s Master Chief, and God of War’s Kratos, while its design adopts the cheesy, triumphal look of a really bad video game. The mock video is priceless. The site builds, in part, on the quarterly report published by Greenpeace on which electronics manufacturers’ products do the more/least to harm the environment. The most recent edition of that document shows Nintendo in dead last.

Though Apple would likely deny it, the group seemed to get the company to change or at least better clarify its environmental policies when it took on Steve Jobs in an open letter and through a similar mock website. If the tactic was even moderately successful with the Sage of Cupertino, will it compel Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony?

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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