Friday, March 30, 2007

Does an avatar leave a footprint?

Lauren made a very interesting point in her comment on my post about Second Life yesterday.

Now Dan Germain has raised another Second Life issue I’d never considered – Power consumption and the carbon footprints left by this virtual world on our real one.

An avatar in Second Life uses roughly the same amount of electricity as the average person living in Brazil.

Producing that much electricity pumps over a ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere of the real world.

That’s a pretty big carbon footprint for a person who doesn’t actually exist. The equivalent of driving a bloody great big 4WD almost 4,000km!

Dan’s post touches primarily on the power needed for an avatar.

Given that Second Life exists on enough computers to fill a football field, I’d say that simply maintaining the complex and detailed 3D environments would result in one hell of an electricity bill.

Click here for further debate.