It’s probably no surprise to hear that the newly released PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both consume a lot of power, despite touting a number of new energy-saving features. According to the NRDC’s (Natural Resources Defense Council) Center for Energy Efficiency, the higher performance and always-on features result in the consoles using up to three times as much energy per year as their predecessors.
Video game consoles in the United States are projected to use more electricity annually than all the households in Houston, America’s fourth-largest city, but it’s not just playing games, or watching movies that’s using power (and draining your bank account in the process). Much of the Xbox One's operating costs come from the console waiting for you to speak to it.
NRDC measured the power required by each console during:
Active game play
Streaming a movie
When the menu screen is selected (Navigation mode)
When the console is in connected standby or completely turned off
This resulted in some interesting findings.
The Xbox One uses around 40 percent more power to play a game than the Xbox 360, and the PS4 consumes almost twice as much as the PS3. In all of the active modes, the PS4 requires more power than the Xbox One, but Microsoft’s console uses twice as much power as the PS4 when in "Instant On" (connected standby) mode.
The NRDC found the Xbox One uses more energy per year than the PS4 overall, with almost half of the Xbox One’s annual electricity usage resulting from the "always listening" feature. In waiting for you to walk into the room and say "Xbox on" the console is consuming more electricity annually than a 50-inch TV.
Truth be told, the Xbox One's total power consumption is unlikely to break the bank (or bother owners unduly), but according to the NRDC, over five years it will add up to roughly $150, or "enough to buy two or three new games".