Video Game Consoles Cost Americans $400 Million per Year — When We Aren’t Even Using Them
If your energy bill has been out of control lately, it might be time to rethink the way you use your video game console.
A new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that the latest-generation game consoles could cost Americans up to $1 billion annually in utility bills — $400 million of which is due to energy wasted while the machines aren’t even being used.
The NRDC analyzed energy consumption of the three most popular game consoles — Microsoft’s Xbox One, Sony’s PlayStation 4, and Nintendo’s Wii U — and found that if every household were to replace its old consoles with the new models, they would consume nearly 10 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
When so many of our household appliances — from our lightbulbs to our washing machines — seem to only get more energy efficient, why is it that game manufacturers are heading in the opposite direction?
Part of the reason is that these consoles aren’t just being used for marathon video game sessions anymore. They also double as streaming devices, becoming the kind of household appliance that is constantly “plugged in” even when not in use.
“We think it’s fair that [manufacturers] provide higher performance graphics and processing speed that they would need more power, but the biggest issue we have is that nearly half of that energy is spent in standby mode,” says Pierre Delforge, NRDC director of high-tech energy efficiency.
The Xbox One and PS4 actually consume two to three times more energy per year than their predecessors, due to inefficient energy use while in standby mode.