This year’s new consoles from Sony and Microsoft are a mixed bag for energy efficiency, according to a report from the National Resources Defense Council.
Both consoles have a few laudable energy-saving features, according to the environmental group’s analysis, including efficient power supplies, multi-core chips that partially shut down for simple tasks, and automatic power reduction and power-down functions that engage when the machine is left idle. The NRDC also praises the PS4’s ability to charge a controller even when the console is in sleep mode, eliminating the need to turn the console on just to charge.
These benefits are counterbalanced by the system’s increased power consumption while playing games when compared to the previous generation of consoles: a 40 percent increase for the Xbox 360 and a nearly 100 percent increase for the PS4. While the Xbox One is more efficient in general, the NRDC points out that Microsoft’s system uses a lot more power in its “connected standby” mode, where it can automatically download updates and listen for the “Xbox On” voice command. The group also worries that players may keep the Xbox One on while watching TV to make use of its voice-controlled remote and guide functions.