The current generation of video game consoles cost $1 billion to operate annually and $400 million in utility bills while in standby mode, with the Xbox One being the biggest energy user.

Owners of current-gen video game consoles should expect to see their energy bills rise significantly. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a non-profit international environmental advocacy group, reported the Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U cost American consumers $1 billion to operate each year. The consoles, particularly the PS4 and the Xbox One, cost $400 million in utility bills annually in standby mode.

NRDC’s report is a follow-up to its previous report on the energy use of video game consoles in 2008. The new report has found that the PS4 and Xbox One in particular use the most power; the PS4 and Xbox One consume two to three times more energy each year than the PS3 and Xbox 360. NRDC states this is because of higher power demand in standby mode and the Xbox One’s TV viewing mode, which adds 72 watts to TV viewing. Both the PS4 and Xbox One use 30 to 45 times more power to stream a movie than an Apple TV or Google Chromecast.

The report indicated the Xbox One uses the most energy due to the TV viewing mode, and if all Xbox One owners used the console to watch TV, it would add $300 million to yearly energy bills. Even in standby, the Xbox One does not conserve energy well; it consumes nearly half of its annual energy while in standby and continuously draws more than 15 watts waiting for the user to say “Xbox on” to turn it on.

The Xbox One is the main energy consumer, but the PS4 has it beat in one case. When powered on, the PS4 draws more energy than the Xbox One because the PS4 uses more power than necessary to keep USB ports active, the NRDC stated.

While the PS4 and Xbox One consume significantly more energy than their predecessors, the Wii U actually consumes slightly less energy than the Wii. NRDC noted that compared to the PS4 and Xbox One, the Wii U is an “energy sipper.”

NRDC recommends users be able to easily opt out of “Instant On” voice command features through the initial setup menu. The organization will make recommendations to console manufacturers to reduce electricity consumption and save consumers $250 million annually.

Source: NRDC, (2)

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