New Game Consoles Energy Use Costs $400 Million/Year in Standby Mode
May 21, 2014
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The Natural Resources Defense Council reported that the latest-generation game consoles are on track to cost American consumers $400 million in annual utility bills while they are unused in standby mode, and will cost a total of $1 billion annually in utility costs.

NRDC estimates the consoles will use enough electricity annually to power all the homes in Houston, the fourth-largest United States city.

NRDC testing showed that 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. No. 2 is the Sony PlayStation 4, which NRDC said has inefficient controller charging. The consoles have incorporated energy-saving features but expanded capabilities result in annual electricity consumption two to three times higher than their most recent predecessor models. NRDC characterized console No. 3, the Nintendo Wii U, as an "energy sipper" compared to the Xbox One and PS4.

"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,” said Pierre Delforge, NRDC director of high-tech energy efficiency, whose team performed the testing.

There have been an estimated 110 million game consoles sold in the United States since 2005, which is almost enough to put one in every home. NRDC said that once all prior generation consoles are replaced, the new models collectively will use approximately 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.

NRDC findings:
• Almost half of the Xbox One’s annual energy consumption occurs when no one is using it; the unit listens for a users to say “Xbox on” even in the middle of the night or when no one’s home.
• 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.

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