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Your video game console is to blame for your high electricity bill

Even when your Xbox One is standing by, it's using up a lot of power. 


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Posted on May 19, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 7:15 am CDT


What’s staggering about the amount of electricity consumed by this latest generation of video game consoles isn’t how much they use when they’re being played—it’s when they’re not being played.

America’s PS4s, Xbox Ones, and Nintendo Wii Us are “on track to consume as much electricity each year as all the homes in Houston … and cost consumers more than $1 billion to operate annually,” according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report found that most of the energy isn’t going into gaming; most of it will be consumed when the consoles are just sitting in standby mode but still waiting for voice to wake it up.

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In a way that’s totally intuitive, since most of the console’s life is actually going to be spent off. But it also reflects how this generation of consoles is doing more, when it isn’t doing anything at all, especially as compared to their predecessors. The Xbox One and PS4 consume two to three times more annual energy than the latest models of their predecessors, the Xbox 360 and PS3, much of it while in stand-by mode, especially for the Xbox.

While the PS4 draws the most power while you’re playing, a new feature on the Xbox makes it the most power hungry while standing-by.

“The console continuously draws more than 15 watts while waiting for the user to say ‘Xbox on,’” the report states, “even in the middle of the night or during the workday when no one is home. If left unchanged, this one feature will be responsible for $400 million in annual electricity bills and the equivalent annual electricity output of a large, 750-megawatt power plant.”

Illustration via NRDC

Read the full story on Motherboard

Photo via Mike Hawkins/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

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*First Published: May 19, 2014, 7:00 am CDT