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The Green Way to Play Video Games

Report explains which is the most energy efficient game console

Although energy efficiency is rarely at the top of the list of things gamers worry about, a recent study conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute might do a little more than open some eyes, especially for green consumers who value energy efficiency and lower electric bills.

Turns out Microsoft’s Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3) and Nintendo’s Wii aren’t created equal, especially when it comes to the amount of electricity they use. In fact, the Institute found a staggering difference. When breaking tackles and throwing bombs on the gridiron in Madden NFL 11, the latest installment of a popular video game franchise, the Xbox drew 87.9 watts and the PS3 drew 84.8 watts, not including the connected televisions. But the diminutive Wii drew just 13.7 watts.

That’s a huge difference. To calculate what that difference in consumptions means for gamers and their residential electric bills, the Institute calculated the consoles’ electricity consumption over the course of a year, using a 2006 Nielsen Company study that estimated serious gamers play for five hours and 45 minutes a day. The Xbox used 184 kilowatt-hours and the PS3 used 179 kilowatt-hours, which puts them in the same league as washing machines or television sets. But the Wii used just 29 kilowatt-hours.

The Institute said that the difference can be attributed to the advanced, high-definition graphics in the Xbox and PS3, which consume significant power and are absent in the Wii.


An Efficient Way to Play Madden Football,” The New York Times, Dec. 17, 2010.

6/24/2011 8:21:00 AM