EPRI Says Gaming Consoles Deliver Value for the Energy Buck

December 18, 2014 by Power Pulse1595211359

As holiday gift giving is upon us, the engineers at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) decided to satisfy their curiosity about how much electricity the latest gaming consoles consume, which required product testing, of course. The evaluation of the newest and hottest gaming consoles shows that three of the most popular units use more electricity during gaming sessions than previous models - but still cost less than $5 per-year to operate - and offer more memory, more hard-drive storage and more colorful and vivid graphics for consumer enjoyment.

An EPRI research team compared the energy consumption of the Microsoft Xbox One™, Sony PlayStation®4 (PS4™), and the Nintendo Wii U™ consoles while running the popular game Call of Duty®: Ghosts. In a head-to-head, hour-long test - the Wii U consumed 30 watt-hours (Wh) of electricity. Xbox One measured in at 105 Wh, and PS4 weighed in at 124 Wh.

The following is the annual energy consumption for these gaming consoles based on an average cost of 12 cents per kWh and 6.3-hours-per-week of gameplay: the Wii U will consume 9.82 kWh for a cost of $1.19; the Xbox One will consume 34.39 kWh for a cost of $4.17; and the PS4 will consume 40.62 kWh for a cost of $4.92. That compares favorably with other common devices such as (the following are national averages based on the EIA Annual Energy Outlook for 2014): Set Top Boxes consume an average of 113.32 kWh for a cost of $13.73; Televisions consume an average of 166.75 kWh for a cost of $20.21; and Desktop PCs consume an average of 185.48 kWh for a cost of $22.48.

Each of the consoles consumed more energy than the previous versions that were tested by EPRI in 2010, but add features and fun that require a bit more electricity to operate. For example, Xbox One allows a player to start playing within minutes as games install, and allows the system to update in the background without interrupting playing time. The PS4 offers the ability to play with friends remotely as if they are in the same room, and Wii U offers a variety of home entertainment options all controlled from its remote gamepad.

"Household devices such as gaming consoles, computers, and other appliances make up a good percentage of a home's electricity use," said Jeffrey Dols, the engineer who led the project at EPRI's Knoxville, Tenn., laboratory. "While five bucks a year is a great value for entertainment, consumers still have an opportunity to save money and conserve energy by turning off or unplugging these household devices while not in use."