According to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the new generation of consoles are racking up electricity bills even when they aren’t being used for video games. NRDC’s testing found Xbox One to be the biggest culprit given that its voice command feature remains on and requires a constant supply of electricity during standby mode. This accounts for almost half of the Xbox One’s annual energy consumption. The PS4 was next as the NRDC critiqued its inefficient controller charging. By comparison, the Wii U was much more efficient, but was marked for its constant popups reminding users that automatic power down was enabled and thus could lead them to disable the feature which may potentially increase energy usage.
When games are being played on the consoles, the Xbox One does use less energy than the PS4, each using 112 watts and 137 watts respectively. It is also more efficient at streaming videos with 74 watts versus 89 watts. The Xbox One’s TV functionality, however, requires the console to be on whenever a user wants to view cable TV, which adds an extra 72 watts to TV viewing.
Overall, the report concluded that “the newest consoles gobble more energy in standby mode and when showing videos than playing games”. These inefficiencies also cost a fair amount as it is expected the new generation of game consoles will cost American consumers $1 billion annually in utility bills with 40 percent of the cost being due to standby mode.
“Gamers shouldn’t be locked into higher electric bills for the lifetime of their consoles just because manufacturers haven’t optimized the performance of their products,” said Pierre Delforge, NRDC director of high-tech energy efficiency. “This wastes energy and money, and causes unnecessary pollution from power plants.”
“But 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.”
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