New generation games consoles drain energy

Playstation 4 and Xbox One consume up to three times the energy of previous consoles

Eoin Clarke
by Eoin Clarke on 23rd May, 2014

The latest generation games consoles struggle when it comes to energy efficiency, according to a new study into their energy consumption.

The work from the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) in the US found that Sony’s Playstation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One were both highly inefficient.

According to the study from the environmental group, the new machines use between two and three times the amount of energy as the previous generation of games consoles.

The exception was Nintendo’s Wii U console, which consumes significantly less electricity than its Wii predecessor.

To put things in perspective, the NRDC report believes that energy consumption from the new games consoles will consume the same amount of electricity per year in the USA, as all of the homes in Houston, Texas.

The report states that it will cost approximately $1bn (c. €730m) to run all of the machines in America for 12 months.

Switch off to save

A major factor in the high rates of energy consumption is the amount of electricity that is drained by the consoles when in ‘stand-by’ mode.

The NRDC states that more energy will be required when keeping consoles in stand-by mode than will be by actually playing games.

When using the Xbox One, users can activate the console using voice and motion sensing device Kinect, but this function drastically increases energy usage as the device is constantly ‘listening’ for commands.

Customers in the USA will face annual electricity bills of around $400m as a result of using these services while the Playstation 4 has its USB ports constantly switched on.

While this does allow controllers to be charged while the device is switched off, a considerable level of energy consumption occurs as a result.

In contrast, Ninento’s Wii U uses very little energy when switched off and uses between half and a third of the electricity of the other games consoles when switched on.

Now the NRDC is calling on Microsoft and Sony to work towards improving the energy efficiency of their devices.

This includes reducing the power consumption when the devices are switched off and in ‘stand-by’ mode, which could possibly be achieved by allowing users to choose what functionality they require.

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