The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report about the power consumption of video gaming consoles, claiming the consoles waste a lot of power in idle mode. The subtitle of the report claims idle gaming consoles cost consumers more than $1 billion worth of wasted energy a year.
As expected, the Nintendo Wii is the console that uses the least power, with a power consumption of just 20W. That's slightly less than Nintendo's previous generation console. The Xbox 360 and PlayStation on the other hand consume a lot more power, 119W and 150W, respectively.
NRDC also complains about the high power consumption when the PS3 and Xbox 360 operate as HD video players. The researchers found the consoles operate at nearly peak energy levels when they are used this way, even after the movie ends, unless the device is turned off. The report states a PlayStation 3 uses five times as much power to play a Blu-ray movie than a stand-alone Sony Blu-ray player.
“If you leave your Xbox 360 or Sony Play Station 3 on all the time, you can cut your electric bill by as much as $100 a year simply by turning it off when you are finished playing,” said NRDC Senior Scientist Noah Horowitz. “With so many struggling in today’s economy – it’s important to realize there are simple steps gamers can take to lower their energy costs. And if manufacturers make future systems more energy efficient, they’ll be doing the right thing for consumers’ pockets, for our clean energy future, and for the environment.”
Looking at the “big three” video game consoles – Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox360 and Nintendo’s Wii – the report measured the amount of power they use when they are active, idle and turned off. It found these systems use nearly the same amount of power when you are playing them as they do when you leave them on and walk away. With more efficient devices and by utilizing existing power-saving features, consumers could save more than $1 billion a year on utility bills and reduce as much global warming pollution per year as the tailpipe emissions from all the cars in San Jose. Specifically, automatic power-down features – which shut off devices if they are left idle for a certain amount of time – are big energy-savers. The feature exists in the Xbox 360 and was recently added to the Playstation 3, but it is rarely used and leaves room for improvement.
On average, the report found that Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 use large amounts of electricity – 150 Watts and 119 Watts respectively – including much more power than their prior generation of game consoles. These two systems can each consume more than 1,000 kilowatt-hours per year if left on all the time, which is equal to the annual energy use of two new refrigerators. The Nintendo Wii, however, uses significantly less power when on – at less than 20 Watts – and actually uses slightly less power than the previous generation of their console.
The Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 also operate as high-definition video players. When they are used this way, the consoles continue to operate at nearly peak energy levels, even after the movie ends, unless the device is turned off. The Playstation 3 uses five times the power of a stand-alone Sony Blu-ray player to play the same movie. This is a particularly dramatic difference considering these two products are made by the same company.