Home Gaming PS4 and Xbox One to cost billions in energy

PS4 and Xbox One to cost billions in energy

2 min read

He man power

No one listens to energy warnings, right? I mean, Eskom just turns off power around here when they feel like it, but it doesn’t really have anything to do with consumption, does it? I really want one of those meters to tell me how much electricity I’m using in real time, but I’d also hate to see how my gamer household grabs power faster than Putin – and apparently the consoles aren’t helping things.

According to research conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Xbox One consumes a ridiculous amount of power in standby mode, as does the PS4.

NRDC’s extensive testing and analysis shows the new Microsoft Xbox One is the biggest energy user of the three most popular consoles, largely due to its voice command feature in standby mode, followed by the Sony PlayStation 4 with its inefficient controller charging. Although these consoles have incorporated important energy-saving features, in large part at NRDC’s urging, their expanded capabilities result in annual electricity consumption two to three times higher than the most recent models of their predecessors. In comparison, the Nintendo Wii U is an energy sipper.

Power consumption

Okay, I get that having the ability to say “Xbox On” costs loads of power, but c’mon PS4 – your controller really is bad with grabbing and holding charge. I blame that useless awesome light bar – there must be a better way to power that thing. According to the NRDC, the PS4 and Xbox One use 30 to 45 times more power to stream a movie than dedicated media players like Apple TV. The Xbox One is so ridiculous in its energy consumption, if all US Xbox One owners use their consoles to watch TV (one of its primary purposes), it would add $300 million in annual energy bills. In fact, the NRDC explains that the new generation consoles use more power in standby mode and when showing videos than they do when playing games. That makes no sense – surely games make use of the processing power that being in standby doesn’t.

I wonder if the Kinect-less Xbox One will be more economical on the power. I know new devices use up more power – just look at how quickly smart phones die compared to our old-school brick phones – but it certainly does drive up the cost of gaming. Not only are the consoles and games themselves expensive, actually using the technology might cause your monthly expenses to rise. I suppose it’s a good thing that I still use the PS3 as my media server – perhaps I should switch to using the Wii U if I really want to save.

Last Updated: May 19, 2014


  1. Alien Emperor Trevor

    May 19, 2014 at 14:04

    If you bought a WiiU you’d save money on games too. tee hee.


    • fred

      May 19, 2014 at 14:39

      but u feel like ur in the 80’s =p


    • Zeroed Out

      May 19, 2014 at 18:24

      I always find it odd that people are ready to jump on the “Wii U sucks” bandwagon. Their games are almost always critically acclaimed and no one cares. Yet Call of Duty comes out with a “new” crappy game each year and no one cares about that either. It’s very odd. Not to mention the fact that nearly every Wii U game made by Nintendo seems to be a “must buy” due to their quality, while I only care about maybe 1 in every 50 or 100 games released on the PS3. Ah, well, who cares really … variety is the spice of life. I can buy games for both … though I don’t own a Wii U or PS4 yet.


      • Brian Murphy

        May 19, 2014 at 18:36

        It’s simply a matter of which device caters to you, people grow out of Nintendo hardware. I used to love them, absolutely love them when I was younger, but I just have different tastes now (and no, not Call of Duty, I’ve played exactly 1 Call of Duty, since they jumped from PC to console and I’ve no plans on increasing that number anytime soon).

        Nintendo devs are on record, stating they have no desire to make adult/mature games. So Nintendo relies upon 3rd parties, but, can 3rd parties can only justify that expense if there are enough units sold AND there’s enough reason to believe that those folks are interested in adult themed games. Right now, they’re not doing either very well.

        Variety is the spice of life, as you say, the unfortunate thing for Nintendo is their variety tends to appeal to a younger audience (yes, older folks do enjoy their IP as well, the problem is, they also enjoy adult themed content, and if they want both, it won’t be on a Wii-U…well, not for the foreseeable future anyway).


        • Zeroed Out

          May 19, 2014 at 19:05

          Very true. The truth is, I don’t have as much time to play games at this point in my life. I’m too busy building a career and because I enjoy games like GTA, I find myself reaching for the PS3 controller much more than the Wii. Games like Mario Galaxy are fantastically produced and a lot of fun, but I find myself more challenged by a multiplayer experience … though, with GTA V, my enjoyment of online is really only a holdover from GTA IV, which I enjoyed much more.

          One problem that Nintendo can’t control is that too many parents are allowing their young kids to play adult-themed games. If younger kids were restricted to playing games skewed to their age, then Nintendo probably wouldn’t have a problem with sales. But many 9-year-olds are now playing COD and GTA V, so they all want a PS3 or XBOX.


          • Brian Murphy

            May 19, 2014 at 19:12

            “One problem that Nintendo can’t control is that too many parents are allowing their young kids to play adult-themed games”

            Ab-so-fuckin-lutely. When I was a kid, there’s no way I was playing Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, or anything like that. Sure, my parents worked, but they also paid attention to what I was doing. There’s something to be said about letting kids be kids, and enjoy childhood without introducing War, murder, butchery, criminal acts etc… to them, too early in their lives. Not out of fear of making them impervious to such things, but simply putting that in their heads to early, really pushes out allot of the carefree attitude.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        May 19, 2014 at 19:37

        Well I was kidding, but technically WiiU game are cheaper than Xbox or PS games 😀


        • Zeroed Out

          May 19, 2014 at 22:02

          Yeah, I know you were just kidding around. I was just making an observation. But the prices of Wii games are usually around $60, just like PS3 and 360 ones. What’s strange is that Wii games sometimes take FOREVER to go down in price. Even now, a new copy of Mario Galaxy 2 will run you $30. It’s been getting better, but they don’t drop nearly as quickly as many PS3 games, such as GTA V which I saw on sale for $40 after less than six months.


  2. Kensei Seraph

    May 19, 2014 at 14:07

    That WiiU power usage is pretty dam impressive.


  3. Hammersteyn

    May 19, 2014 at 14:09

    Seems like Eskom will need to up their estimates for power usage come September.


  4. Hammersteyn

    May 19, 2014 at 14:11

    I thought that the One console used cloud power?


    • Tulipdame

      May 20, 2014 at 17:19

      I don’t know what to make of this ^


  5. Matthew Holliday

    May 19, 2014 at 14:12

    Im a fan of building a cheap PC or using old parts to build one and using that as a media server, isntead of using my ps3.
    cheapie PCs dont run much in terms of power, and general idling/movie streaming doesnt use too much.

    atm i have my PC dual screened to my TV, so with my xbox controller, its my main PC, console and media server. ofcourse it doesnt work if someone else wants to use it, but hey, its MY mancave, I’ll do what I want.


    • DrKiller

      May 19, 2014 at 16:38

      If you had a Smart TV, you could use Plex for the Media Server 😉 Then other people can use the PC while you are watching movies.. I use it on my second PC.. (HP N40L).. When I have tie, I want to set up Steam In-House Streaming.. Then my main PC will do all the processing while my media server just displays the game on the TV


  6. HvR - THE Average GAmer

    May 19, 2014 at 14:21

    That graph is pretty useless, there is no way to estimate power usage with such a wide band of use cases.

    Newer generation high end GPU’s and CPU’s might be more efficient but will always use more power since generally more computational power = higher power consumption.


  7. RinceofFuturePast

    May 19, 2014 at 14:30

    Now add to the Xbox One the thousands of servers and you have some serious POWA usage.


  8. CAE9872

    May 19, 2014 at 14:30

    Shouldn’t WiiU consumption be nil? If no-one buys one energy = nil.

    Flame away…


    • Zeroed Out

      May 19, 2014 at 18:19

      True. It’s the same amount of energy utilized by Microsoft’s PR department.


  9. Matewis Jubilai

    May 19, 2014 at 14:35

    A He-Man game would be awesome! Something like Space Marine, except without the armour which He-Man doesn’t need of course.


  10. Double-O-Six and a half

    May 19, 2014 at 15:40

    181 Kw/h per year… that equates to roughly 0.5Kw/h per day…???
    Considering that the average gamer will use their PS4 for roughly 1-2 hours per day, and possibly more at game launch times (Yes Watch_Dogs, I’m looking at you) or over weekends this actually seems to be a VERY low average consumption figure for a console in general.

    I actually have one of those meters which measure my power output in real time (Zoe, if you want the details, more than happy to share:) ) and my microwave uses way more power than my PS4, home theatre receiver, speakers and 70″ inch Samsung LED TV combined – for the record, all of that combined uses up about 350 – 400 watts of power or roughly 0.4Kw/h depending on what I am doing… and I have my whole house (except swimming pool pump and jacuzzi) running off solar inverter anyway… Eishkom doesn’t get to squander much of my money on new wallpaper or a new VIP entrance to MegaSloth Park…but I digress…

    Yeah, agreed the point is being made that combining all of the console users together – sure its a massive impact but for the same argument you may as well say every single person using a microwave or heaven forbid (the “Master Race” angle) a PC to get their jollies off will have as much if not more impact on the electricity usage


  11. DrKiller

    May 19, 2014 at 16:33

    I was actually thinking about this a while back.. I was thinking of buying me one of those plug meters to see how much power all my “stand by” devices use… Xboxes, Amp, Speakers, TVs etc


    • Zeroed Out

      May 19, 2014 at 18:16

      It really does add up. I’ve written many articles for HVAC clients about “energy vampires.” Even when a cell phone charger isn’t actually charging anything, it’s using a small amount of power just by being plugged in. When you add all that stuff up, it definitely makes a difference in your energy bills over a year, so it’s recommended that you connect everything to a surge protector and switch everything off at once (the surge protector stops his use of power from occurring). Is the waste of power HUGE? Not really. But it’s definitely a waste.


  12. Brian Murphy

    May 19, 2014 at 18:43

    “I blame that useless awesome light bar – there must be a better way to power that thing.”

    Or…you could just use the light dimming option that they provided in 1.7? Maybe? Yes? I mean, at a normal charge, normal light settings, the damn thing lasts 11 hours. On Medium, 11 hours 42 minutes, on the dimmest setting, 12 hours 21 minutes. Raise you’re hand if you’re routinely having 11-12 and half hour gaming sessions.



  13. Akira Seung

    May 23, 2014 at 17:05

    There is
    not one single cheap energy supplier for everyone; it’s about the cheapest energy comparison for you. Need help? Visit http://www.levver.be/


  14. Jeroenske

    September 17, 2015 at 23:28

    It’s the touchpad and the speaker that suck power in the DS4 not the light


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