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The Green Way to Play Video Games

The Green Way to Play Video Games

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 FootballThe New York Times, Dec. 17, 2010.

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