Report: Xbox One Standby Mode Wastes $400M in Energy Per Year

The standby modes that allow the Xbox One and Playstation 4 to spring to life quickly with voice commands or button pushes also cause them to waste a whole lot of energy.

According to figures released by the National Resources Defense Council, a non-profit environmental advocacy group, American console owners together will spend $1 billion each year on electricity to power the newest generation of video game consoles. Together they’ll consume enough electricity to power all the homes in Houston, Texas. And a big chunk of that electricity will be sucked up at night, when no one is playing but the consoles are in standby mode so they can recharge controllers or listen for that fateful “Xbox, on” command.

Focusing on the Xbox One in particular, the NRDC says the console’s standby mode that allows for voice activation can cost U.S. Xbox One owners together as much as $400 million per year.

In laboratory studies of the consoles, which follow a 2008 study NRDC conducted on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii, the non-profit said it found the PS4 and Xbox One in particular draw far more power than their predecessors. Both consoles will pull down nearly three times more kilowatt-hours per year than their predecessors consumed, and depending on its TV functionality usage, the Xbox One in particular can jump up to four times the power consumed in a single year as compared to the Xbox 360.

The Xbox One’s TV viewing mode, which lets users quickly switch the console between watching cable TV and performing other functions, also drives up the energy costs of the console. The NRDC states that watching TV using your Xbox One draws an additional 75 killowatts per hour of electricity, and estimates that if everyone who has an Xbox One used it to watch all their TV, it would cost consumers an additional $300 million in energy per year.

The PS4, on the other hand, draws more electricity than the Xbox One when it’s powered on, the report says. It also draws more power to its USB ports than might be necessary when there’s nothing plugged into them. The Xbox One uses more power in general, however, because it spends so much time in standby mode. Meanwhile, both consoles use a huge amount of additional power –35 to 40 times — for streaming video than competitors like Google Chromecast or Apple TV.

The practical application of all this information is that little changes, like not using your Xbox One to watch TV, and not leaving your consoles in standby mode, might be enough to save some significant money on power bills. The report made no mention of how its figures might change now that Microsoft has announced a version of the Xbox One sans Kinect.

The NRDC also is advocating for consoles to have an opt-out option for functions that can instantly turn them on, effectively allowing users to deactivate standby modes altogether. That seems like an easy way for console makers to give users the option to cut their electricity usage down, without necessarily cutting back on those cool features like the Xbox One’s much-touted voice command capability. You can find more information from the NRDC’s brief on the report here, and from a more thorough rundown of its findings here.

And luckily, if you really want to save power, you can grab a Wii-U, which consumes even less electricity annually than the Wii did.

Via The Escapist.

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3 Comments on Report: Xbox One Standby Mode Wastes $400M in Energy Per Year


On May 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm

If I know I’ll be away from my PS4 for more than a 30 minutes to an hour, I shut it off. At worst, I end up charging the controller while I play.


On May 20, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Report gamefront just reposts news!


On May 22, 2014 at 12:53 am

Newsflash – “dollars” is not a measurement of energy. Energy is measured in watts and kilowatts, which are an absolute scientific measurement of energy, whereas money is an ever-changing quantity dependent on so many factors it’s not worth listing them all. Therefore, saying it costs $400m a year is meaningless. The only mention of actual energy measurement I saw was buried into a paragraph near the end of the article, and even then it just told us how much is used per hour by one console.

Looks like this is just headline-grabbing junk.