A recent study from the National Resources Defense Council tested the next-gen consoles – specifically the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One – to see how much energy the systems used. The results show that, despite some big steps taken by Sony and Microsoft, the new consoles use up to three times more energy than their predecessors.
The good news is that the study went on to show that the new systems are actually 25-percent more energy efficient than the PS3 and Xbox 360. They also feature energy saving modes that automatically kick in after several minutes of inactivity, and both use power supplies designed to be as efficient as possible. Still, the consoles are power hogs.
If 100 million Americans run next-gen consoles in a year, a number that is very possible based on the current gen sales, the systems will eat up a staggering amount of energy, “between 10 and 11 billion kilowatt hours of electricity annually!”
Yeah, we have no idea what that means either. But according to the report, that alone would amount for $1 billion in annual electricity bills. To further contextualize it, the combined energy used by the consoles each year would be more “than all the households in Houston, America’s fourth-largest city.”
To break it down, the Xbox One uses around 40-percent more power to play a game than the Xbox 360, while the PS4 uses almost twice the energy that the PS3 does. In the tests involving the systems operating while in the active mode, the PS4 “requires significantly more power to perform similar tasks as the Xbox One.” This, according to the report, is due to the PS4 delivering higher resolution images thanks to a more powerful graphics processor.
On the other hand, the Xbox One uses twice as much energy while the standby mode, due to the system keeping some functions active – specifically the Kinect, which continually receives enough energy to keep it ready to accept the voice command “Xbox on,” even if the system has not been turned on for days. The “always listening” feature accounts for nearly half the Xbox One’s energy consumption annually. Because of this, the Xbox One is expected to consume more energy per year than the PS4.
The graph below shows the exact results of the tests. Both systems were tested with their respective cameras connected, and USB charging enabled (hence the footnote in the first graph).