Downloading video games is worse for the planet than ordering disks

A study of the carbon footprint of PlayStation 3 games in the United Kingdom has come to a surprising conclusion. Studies of music have suggested that it takes less energy (and thus contributes relatively less to global warming) to sell music over the Internet than it does to truck compact disks to stores. But by calculating the amount of effort involved in getting a typical 8.8-gigabyte game for PlayStation 3 to your snack-filled sofa, the researchers found that ordering on the Internet led to greater carbon-equivalent emissions than did the physical distribution of a blue-ray disk to local stores. Downloading was better for the climate only when the games were less than 1.3 gigabytes, the team reports in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.

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