The Hidden Cost Of That video game Machine: Electricity


Americans blow $1.1 billion dollars a year in wasted electricity — up to $125 per household — just by not turning off their PS3s and Xboxs when they’re done playing. That’s what the environmental do-gooders at the Natural Resources defence Council (SAI’s upstairs neighbours) discover in their new report on green gaming.

The NRDC ran a series of tests on the power consumption of the leading game consoles and reached a few surprising conclusions:

  • Nintendo’s (NTDOY) Wii consumes less than one-tenth the power of Microsoft’s (MSFT) first-gen Xbox 360 or Sony’s (SNE) first PS3. Both the Xbox and PS3 have lowered their consoles’ appetite for electricity in later models.
  • Playing Xbox 360 titles like Call of Duty 4 online actually consumes a little less power than the single-player game.
  • The PS3 is hugely inefficient at playing Blu-ray movies. It takes 148 watts to play a Blu-ray movie on the PS3, compared to only about 29 watts on Sony’s standalone Blu-ray players.

The NRDC’s advice: Console-makers should incorporate a “sleep” feature into their consoles where after three hours of inactivity, games are auto-saved and the unit powers down. The PS3 has something like that now, but it’s turned off by default and buried deep in the menus under “special circumstances.”

Read the full report here.

See Also:
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October Game Sales: Nintendo Wii Kicking PS3 Butt