- The new consoles consume more energy each year playing video or in standby mode than playing games.
- The Xbox One and PS4 consume two to three times more annual energy than the latest models of their predecessors, the Xbox 360 and PS3.
- While the new versions are more powerful, the two- to three-fold increase in energy use is due to higher power demand in standby and on modes and, in the case of the Xbox One, more time switched on due to its TV viewing mode. In this mode, the console is used in addition to the current set-top box to access cable or satellite TV, adding 72 watts to TV viewing. Do you really want a 72-watt remote control, when a traditional battery-powered remote draws less than 1 watt?
- The Xbox One draws less power than the PS4 to play games and video. However, the Xbox One consumes a lot more energy when not in use (connected standby mode).
- Nearly half of the Xbox One’s annual energy is consumed in connected standby, when the console continuously draws more than 15 watts while waiting for the user to say “Xbox on,” even in the middle of the night or when no one is home. If left unchanged and all Xbox 360 models are replaced by Xbox One consoles, this one feature will be responsible for $400 million in annual electricity bills and the equivalent annual output of a large, 750-megawatt power plant – and its associated pollution.
- Consoles have incorporated some good design practices, including better power scaling (drawing less power when doing less work) and well-implemented automatic power down to a low-power state after an extended period of user inactivity.
- The PS4 and Xbox One are very inefficient when playing movies, using 30 to 45 times more power to stream a movie than a dedicated video player, such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire
SAN FRANCISCO (May 16, 2014) – The latest-generation game consoles are on track to cost American consumers $1 billion annually in utility bills–$400 million of that in standby mode when no one is using them–and devour enough electricity to power all the homes in the nation’s fourth-largest city of Houston, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
NRDC’s extensive testing and analysis shows the new Microsoft Xbox One is the biggest energy user of the three most popular consoles, largely due to its voice command feature in standby mode, followed by the Sony PlayStation 4 with its inefficient controller charging. Although these consoles have incorporated important energy-saving features, in large part at NRDC’s urging, their expanded capabilities result in annual electricity consumption two to three times higher than the most recent models of their predecessors. In comparison, the Nintendo Wii U is an energy sipper.
“Gamers shouldn’t be locked into higher electric bills for the lifetime of their consoles just because manufacturers haven’t optimized the performance of their products,” said Pierre Delforge, NRDC director of high-tech energy efficiency, whose team performed the testing. “This wastes energy and money, and causes unnecessary pollution from power plants.
“But if Microsoft and Sony follow NRDC’s recommendations, they could cut the new consoles’ electricity use by one-fourth beyond current projections through software and hardware optimizations, saving U.S. consumers $250 million on their annual utility bills and enough energy to power all the households in San Jose, America’s 10th-largest city,” he said.
An estimated 110 million game consoles have been sold in the United States since 2005—almost enough to have one in every home—and they consume several power plants’ worth of electricity every year. Once all prior generation consoles are replaced, the new models collectively will use approximately 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power all of Houston’s homes.
Key findings from NRDC’s analysis include:
- The newest consoles gobble more energy in standby mode and when showing videos than playing games, over a year.
- Almost half of the Xbox One’s annual energy consumption occurs when no one is using it, but it’s listening for users to say “Xbox on” even in the middle of the night or when no one’s home.
- If all U.S. Xbox One owners use their consoles for TV watching, it would add $300 million to their yearly energy bills.
- The PS4 and Xbox One use 30 to 45 times more power to stream a movie than dedicated media players (such as Apple TV or Google Chromecast).
The report is at http://www.nrdc.org/energy/game-consoles/default.asp.