The Natural Resources Defense Council has written a new report about the energy consumption of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. It appears that the two next-gen consoles use a hefty amount of energy; notably, the amount of energy consumed by the consoles is significantly higher than their predecessors, and streaming shows on the systems uses more energy than other devices do. As a result, users will not only cause more pollution, but they will also increase their home environmental costs, as well. According to the group, the systems actually use more energy than the televisions that they are being played on!
« When playing the latest games, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles draw between 160 and 200-plus watts of electricity, which is higher than earlier generation consoles, » reads the report. « That’s more power than the huge 60-inch TV it might be connected to uses! The good news is that these consoles draw significantly lower power levels when playing games designed for older consoles and are backward compatible. The entry-level Xbox Series S drew lower power levels during game play than the other three new consoles. »
One of the biggest appeals for the next-gen consoles is just how quickly they are able to shift between games and apps, thanks to greatly reduced loading speeds. However, it seems that this is a big part of the problem when it comes to energy use. According to the group, streaming TV shows on the consoles takes 30 to 70 watts, which is 10 to 25 times the amount used via dedicated streaming devices like Roku, or Amazon Fire Stick.
Gamers can’t do a whole lot about the power consumption that takes place while playing bigger games, but there is one thing that Xbox Series X owners can do to make an impact. According to the NRDC, the system ships with « instant on » enabled in all territories other than Europe. When players switch the system over to the « energy saving » option, it uses less than a single watt of energy when not in use.
« Based on modeling NRDC performed through 2025, this one seemingly inconsequential decision by Microsoft could result in the equivalent of one large (500 MW) coal-burning power plant’s worth of annual electricity generation and cost new U.S. Xbox owners roughly $1 billion on their electricity bills, » the report reads.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Microsoft and Sony attempt to address these issues, following the report’s release. There is a lot of appeal in the way that next-gen platforms are able to run faster and produce better graphics, but it’s clear that there has been a bit of a trade-off, both for players, and for the environment.
Have you purchased a PS5 or Xbox Series X? Are you concerned about the potential energy costs? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!