The latest game consoles-environmental winners or losers? | Instant News

The latest Xbox and PlayStation game consoles have come out, and preliminary tests by NRDC have shown that in most cases, their annual energy may increase, depending on how users set up and operate them. However, if the engineering teams at Microsoft and Sony do not do much to improve the efficiency of the new model, the power consumption will be higher.

NRDC measured the power consumption of these consoles while playing games, streaming video, and when they were not actively used and discovered:

  • When playing the latest games, the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 consoles consume more than 160 watts to 200 watts, which is higher than the previous generation consoles. This is more powerful than the large 60-inch TV it may be connected to! The good news is that these consoles have greatly reduced power consumption when playing games designed for older consoles and are backward compatible. Compared with the other three new game consoles, the entry-level Xbox Series S consumes less power during gaming.
  • Although Microsoft’s new Xbox can consume less than 1 watt of power when the “energy saving” setting is selected, they have the “instant on” feature enabled at the factory. (Please note that this will only save the user 5 to 10 seconds of time when the user restarts the console.) According to the NRDC modelling performed by 2025, this seemingly insignificant decision by Microsoft could result in the equivalent of a large (500 MW) coal-fired power plant’s annual power generation and cost the new Xbox owners in the United States about 10 Billion dollars in electricity bills.
  • All of these new consoles make it extremely convenient and convenient to stream videos from pre-loaded applications such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, which can greatly increase the time and energy consumption of the console. When streaming video, these consoles consume 10 to 25 times more power than watching the same show using streaming equipment.

Streaming on the console consumes a lot of energy

These new consoles make it very easy to switch from playing games to streaming programs through pre-loaded applications without the need to use the TV remote control to change the TV’s “input” or “source”. With just a few clicks on the game controller, users can choose an app, select and start watching a show like “Great British Baking Show”, and then easily return to their game.

This can save a few seconds, but the console will consume 30 to 70 watts, which is about 10 to 25 times more power than watching streaming media devices such as Apple TV, Roku box, or Amazon Fire Stick. We have repeatedly urged Sony and Microsoft to use dedicated low-power chips in their consoles for video playback, and since it may take a long time to “watch” through the console, this requirement is even more important today.

Our tests show:

  • Xbox Series S-This console has approximately 31 watts of power to play shows on Netflix and approximately 41 watts on Amazon Prime. We cannot explain the difference of about 10 watts. (Note: We are unable to obtain and test the more powerful Xbox Series X. As far as we understand, Xbox Series X may consume 40 to 53 watts of power during streaming, depending on the resolution of the show.)
  • PS5-PS5 (digital and CD models) consumes between 68 and 70 watts of power and is used for shows from Amazon Prime and Netflix.

In addition, if the user does not take additional steps to turn off the console after turning off the TV, the console will continue to supply power at these high levels for an hour or more. talk about it later.

Settings are important

It’s commendable that both the Xbox Series S/X and PS5 consoles are designed to consume very low power when not in use (called standby or rest mode), and the “auto power off” function is enabled at the factory (this function has not yet been That’s it). In addition, the standby power of the two console series is 1 watt or less, and can quickly restart and return to the position in the game or movie. The solid-state drive makes this feature possible, allowing quick access to saved games and reducing recovery time. In standby mode, these devices wake up periodically to check for games or software updates, download them, and then return to their low-power standby mode.

unfortunately, Microsoft retains the old settings of “instant” and “energy saving”.“, and then ship the mixer to the United States and other regions outside of Europe, and it will be selected immediately by default. (These consoles continue to be shipped to Europe with “energy saving” as the default setting to meet local efficiency requirements.) This is the result of our testing on the Xbox Series S console.

“Instant on” setting

“Energy saving” settings

Recovery Time

<5 seconds

10 to 15 seconds

Electricity usage

9 to 10 watts

<1 watt

Is it possible to check and wake up for updates?



We expect that when selecting instant upload, the Xbox series X will use several watts of backup power than the S series console.

This screenshot shows the choices users see when setting up their Xbox console for the first time. Please note that the instant open option is pre-selected. As a result, most users may accept the choice instead of opting out. In view of the fact that instant activation has little impact on users, Microsoft – Publicly announced “By 2030, Microsoft will reduce carbon emissions… and launch a global initiative to help its suppliers and customers reduce their carbon footprint” — energy saving options will not be enabled by default on the console (maybe deleted ( Selected during the initial setup process). With just a few lines of new code, this change can happen overnight.

We have run these numbers, but the environmental hazards related to the interests of users cannot be realized.Based on modeling, we assume that two-thirds of users choose the default instant settings when setting, and the Xbox Series S/X console is ready to waste almost 4 billion kWh By the end of 2025, electricity will only be used once when the US is in standby mode and not in use. This additional energy use can roughly translate into:

  • The equivalent electricity produced by a large (500 MW) coal-fired power plant in one year
  • Approximately $500 million in additional utility bills for new Xbox console owners
  • About 3 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions

With these numbers, we hope that most users will be willing to wait another 5 to 10 seconds before restarting the console if they know the impact.

However, Microsoft has done a great job designing how its console automatically enters a low-power standby mode. By default, the Xbox we tested is set to automatically power off after 1 hour of inactivity, but for some reason, it is smart enough not to stop during a two-hour movie playback and power off to stand by. On the contrary, the movie will finish playing and the console clock will be automatically turned off after one hour of user inactivity, thus bringing a good user experience.

With one exception, Sony has done a good job designing the standby mode (“rest mode”). We measured the PS5’s standby power consumption to be 1 watt or less, and wake up within about 10 to 15 seconds after the user returns. The PS5 controller comes with a rechargeable battery and a USB cable that connects to the console for charging. It uses some extra standby power to keep the USB port charging the controller’s battery for 3 hours, then drops to 1 watt or less. Overall, this is a more environmentally friendly method than Xbox, which comes with disposable batteries that need to be replaced regularly.

Sony shuts down its game consoles after one hour of inactive video playback and four hours of inactive video playback. These numbers seem to be correct for PS5 because it currently has no way of knowing when the movie or TV show ends, and if the movie or show is also set to 1 hour (such as Xbox), it will automatically turn off the power in many movies. However, the result is that the PS5 continues to consume about 70 watts of power in the four hours since the end of the program, unless the user remembers to turn off the power of the game console when turning off the TV. We encourage Sony to research engineering solutions to shorten the time for inactive consoles to enter a low-power standby mode (as Microsoft already has) during media playback, while maintaining a good user experience.

Nonetheless, we urge users of any console to avoid deselecting the automatic power-off function, and not to select the “Don’t put in rest mode” option such as PS5, and similar options on Xbox. If you are not used to turning off the console after finishing the operation and disable the automatic shutdown function, the console will continue to lose power between 30 watts and 200 watts (if you have ever played a designed game, Works on PS5 or Xbox X), depending on the console and what you did last time, this can actually add up.

Game usage rights-on the entire map

Although this is really interesting, testing energy consumption during a game is very complicated and depends on multiple factors, including the generation of the game (for example, it is designed for the latest game console or an earlier version), TV resolution, The game itself and how it is played (what level has been reached, whether there are a lot of shooting or fast driving, etc.). Therefore, we only conducted basic and preliminary tests and found that:

  • The game features of PS5 have changed a lot. When playing the NHL 2021 disc version designed for PS4, the power consumption is between 80 watts and 104 watts, depending on your capabilities and TV resolution (thanks to my friend SH for lending me his son and TV for this Item test). PS5 is pre-installed with Astro’s Playhouse. PS5 digital and PS5 optical disc game consoles use between 180 watts and 200 watts during the game.
  • Xbox Series S games (downloaded from Microsoft Game Pass) use approximately 53 to 57 watts of power (games played include Moto GP20, Descenders and Call of the Sea).Although we don’t have access to the Xbox Series X console, others include The internet The report says that the power level when playing the latest game is about 200 watts.

Based on conversations with the manufacturer, it seems that older games played on the new console consume significantly less power than new games designed to take advantage of the additional computing power and advanced graphics cards in the new console. The two old game manufacturers have adopted power scaling chips, resulting in lower power consumption in older games.

We expect the power of the new game to be about 200 watts, which is a significant improvement over the previous generation console.

Final recommendations to manufacturers

We respectfully recommend Microsoft and Sony: a) Make further improvements in the realization of automatic shutdown and standby modes to reduce the overall energy consumption of the console each year; b) Contain a discrete low-power chip for video playback. We also encourage them to conduct on-site research to measure current user behavior (they play a few hours a day and play movies, the percentage of lost automatic shutdowns, etc.), and use this information to generate public-facing reports on the country/region of the console’s energy Consumption is expected to promote future energy conservation and emission reduction and carbon emission reduction.Such research should also take into account the increasingly popular energy and related carbon emissions Cloud-based gaming, Where a lot of calculations are performed in energy-intensive data centers.

Games start!

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