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  • Family playing console games

    How Much Electricity Does My Game Console Use?

July 2019

Whether you are an Xbox enthusiast or a Playstation Pro there are ways to reduce your electricity bills without reducing the fun you’re having!

Do you love a good Xbox session, catching a movie or streaming Netflix? While playing console games is increasingly popular – and heaps of fun, too – it can come at quite a cost to your power bill.

The good news is that you don’t have to pull the plug on gaming completely. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of time to research, you can stay plugged in for longer and play without the fear of bill shock.

Comparing consoles

There are a few variables which impact how much electricity your game console uses, for example:

  1. the game you play (i.e. game play complexity and detail of the graphics)3
  2. the specs of the console, for example the efficiency of the hardware components (CPU / GPU) & performance capabilities (processor cores, memory etc.)3

The age of your console also determines varying power consumption - with newer models being more power hungry than the classics3. This is due to experience advancements being prioritized at the cost of energy-efficiency (i.e. higher processing and graphics performance vs. classic consoles).

Console1 Estimated Watts Consumption (per hour) Estimated Monthly Cost (Gaming for 2 hours per day, 7 days perweek)2 Estimated Annual Cost2
New Consoles
Nintendo Switch 10-18 $0.14 - $0.25 $1.63 - $2.94
PS4 90-150 $1.23 - $2.04 $14.70 - $24.50
Xbox One X 65-180 $0.88 - $2.45 $10.62 - $29.40
Xbox One 70-120 $0.95 - $1.63 $11.43 - $19.60
Xbox 360 Original 180 $2.45 $29.40
Wii 40 $0.54 $6.53
Classic Consoles
Playstation Classic / NES Classic Edition 2.3-2.5 $0.03 $0.38 - $0.41

What causes console electricity consumption to spike?

The operating mode chosen is the greatest influencer of power consumption. Simply using your console for game play, rather than video streaming or in TV mode, will dramatically decrease the amount of energy consumed. By cleverly turning off the console rather than relying on the standby mode can save you up to 1411 watts per week.

Power consumption in the most common operating mode3
Activity by Power (watts) WiiU PS4 Xbox One
Game Play 34 137 112
Video Streaming (Netflix) 29 89 74
Navigation / TV Mode 32 88 72
Connected Standby 0.4 8.4 15.7
Off 0.4 0.3 0.4

Interesting research from the NRDC3 in America finds that:

  • The Xbox One (233KWh/y) consumes 30% more energy on average vs. the PS4 (181KWh/y) and more than 6 times than the WiiU (37KWh/y)
  • New consoles use more energy playing video and by being in standby mode than playing games
  • Nearly 50% of the Xbox One’s annual electricity consumption is when on “connected standby” - with the console continuously using 15 watts waiting for the user to voice command “Xbox on” (even during the night or workday when no one is awake or at home)

Energy saving tips when console gaming

A few small changes to how your games console is set-up can provide major savings on your energy bill.

  1. Don’t rely on the standby or sleep mode when the console is not being used - opt to completely turn-off instead to prevent power still being drawn.
  2. Use a monitor with a high energy rating (5-star efficiency score) that is ideally either LED or OLED (Organic LED).
  3. Opt for a console which uses less energy. Whilst manufacturers focus on experience rather than efficiency when developing the next-gen consoles, previous generation models can deliver cheaper play time and still offer an incredible in-game experience (the Playstation Classic costs only 41c per year.)
  4. Use your games console for, well, gaming. Both the Xbox and PS4 are comparatively inefficient when used for playing movies, using 30-45 times more power than Apple TV or Google Chromecast.3

The final word

A love of gaming does not automatically have to mean a large electricity bill. Taking the time to turn off standby, picking a more energy efficient console and choosing an LED monitor can all help lower energy bills whilst keeping you in peak form.

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