Gamers Spend Over $1b Per Year On Power When Not Even Using Their Consoles

Staying current on gaming isn't cheap. The consoles themselves cost about $400, and new retail games launch at $90. Even for a player who avoids DLC and only buys year-old or used games, the costs add up.

But what's really costing gamers? The electric bills.

Games consoles are known power hogs, but a recently published study from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University drives the point home. The biggest issue, the study finds, is not how much electricity the consoles pull while being actively used, nor even the "vampire" effect where electronics powered off still drain electricity. The biggest, most wasteful draw, it turns out, comes from consoles that are on but idle.

As CNET summarises :

According to the research, 68 per cent of all game console energy consumed in 2010 happened while in idle mode, which equaled 10.8 TWh of energy and about $US1.24 billion in electricity costs. Overall, 1 per cent of U.S. residential energy consumption in 2010 was spent on video game consoles, which is an increase of almost 50 per cent over three years ago.

The moral of the story, according to the researchers? Turn your consoles off when you're not actually using them. A billion dollars spent on not even using consoles is a billion dollars that could be much better spent indeed.

Gaming consoles consume copious amounts of energy [CNet]

Top photo: Shutterstock


    Wow... this is eye opening. I knew they sapped power like any appliance, but this might just make me switch the power board off.

      I always leave appliances running in case I want to use them again in a few days; everything - hair dryer, sandwich toaster ...

      Same with my car - who can spare the time to start it when I want to drive somewhere? Just leave it running with the door open and I'm away.

      I also leave the shower running 24/7 so I don't waste valuable seconds getting the temperature right before I step in.


      that's right, all of these are ridiculous, yet many millions of people think nothing of a multitude of lesser episodes of mindless wastage.

      It saddens me that frugality isn't as common as you'd expect in the 'harsh economic times' I hear so much about.

        + 10000 terrwatts!

    Idle mode? Do you mean standby or left on to idle?

      Read the article carefully

      "The biggest, most wasteful draw, it turns out, comes from consoles that are on but idle."

    And then, every time you turn on your xBox, you have to set the clock.

    Terrific, I'm back in the 80's

      Not if you connect to xbox live, then it automatically updates the clock.

      I always turn off all my consoles/tv's/stereos at the wall when not in use. Helps keep the electricity bills under control.

    Which is why I unplug all my gaming stuff when I'm not using it. It's that simple.

    1.21 giggawatts

    I think people are missing the point, it's not being in standby that's the problem, it's people leaving the console on while they're not using it.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now