Games consoles really are gas guzzlers and the PS3 is an SUV!

PS3 Controller
Creative Commons License photo credit: DeclanTM

James had a post here a couple of weeks back asking “Are Games Consoles Really Gas Guzzlers?“. This was in response to a story in the Sydney Morning Herald where Greenpeace accused games console vendors of ignoring environmental concerns.

James correctly pointed out that the story was light on specifics – there was no data to support the assertion that the games consoles were power hungry.

Yesterday I spotted a Tweet from April Dunford where she said:

Sony Playstation 3 consumes five times more energy than a medium sized refrigerator – 10 times as much as the Wii.

Intrigued, I followed the link and sure enough the story seems to back GreenPeace’s assertion:

They found out that a medium sized refrigerator of about 12 cu. ft. volume (60 inches in height) will cost $50 a year while Sony Playstation 3 will cost $250 a year even if it is not in use and only turned on. Microsoft XBox came second behind Playstation 3.

The original research was carried out by Australian consumer group Choice. Choice is the largest consumer organization in Australia with over 200,000 subscribers.

Ouch! The PS3 consumes five times more power than a fridge even if not in use? Interestingly the Nintendo Wii only consumes one tenth the power of a PS3. Yet another reason to love the Wii!!!

The target demographic for games consoles are typically the younger generation who are idealistic and really clued into Green. If the console manufacturers really want to differentiate themselves they should get Energy Star certified. The first one who does will reap the rewards.


  1. Sean Dague says

    The PS3 numbers are for being on and idle (vs. standby) are the ones that are really large. It seems like a better assessment would be 2 or 4 hours of use a day, instead of 24 hour use for the game consoles, which doesn’t seem realistic to me.

  2. April Dunford says

    What’s amazing about the stat is that in general, your refrigerator is the most energy consumptive appliance in your home. People consider energy consumption when they purchase a fridge. Where I live it is clearly marked on it when you buy one. I don’t think it crosses anyone’s mind when they buy a game console. Consoles are perfect candidates for Energy Star certification.

  3. says

    I agree with April that energy consumption labels should be all electronic devices, including game systems. The labels should capture the energy and carbon footprint to build, use, and dispose of the equipment.

    The label should indicate what power is typically consumed in regular use, idle, and standby. For a thoughtful analysis of the Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 see They used a Watts Up? Pro power meter. It showed that the PS3 was indeed hungry during game play, video play, and Idle. However, as Sean suggests, standby is another story and some standby time should be part of the calculation.

    Power Consumption During Standby

    Wii ( Connect 24 Off ) 1.3 Watts
    Wii ( Connect 24 On ) 9.6 Watts
    Xbox 360 2.5 Watts
    PS3 1.9 Watts