The new consoles, namely the PS5 and Xbox Series X, are not really good examples when it comes to the environment. Indeed, an American study shows that the two machines consume as much as a gaming PC and are not necessarily a good thing for the environment.
It’s hard to have an ecological fiber while being a seasoned gamer. Video games, whether on PC or console, do indeed consume a lot of energy. The situation has not changed with the new machines, namely the PS5 and Xbox Series X. It is even worse. An American study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) indicates that they are energy gulfs.
The goal here is not to make the players feel guilty, but to draw up an inventory of the ecological impact of the products. Yes, video games are a polluting activity, we know that and we buy with full knowledge of the facts. But how far?
The two manufacturers, Sony and Microsoft, rely on the power of their console, which goes hand in hand with high energy consumption. The PS5 and Xbox Series X are the most powerful machines on the market, and therefore the most greedy. The NRDC, relayed by Cnet, draws up an unflattering assessment for the products.
For example, the PS5 running Spider-Man Miles Morales Consumes 197 Watts Per Hour On Average. This consumption rises to 220 Watts on Demon’s Souls (still on PS5). The Xbox Series X does not fare any better, since the machine consumes 209 Watts per hour on Gears 5. It’s more than a gaming laptop with an RTX 2070. By comparison, one hour on Breath of the Wild (Switch) consumes 10 watts per hour.
To make these results more concrete, the study indicates that playing an hour of Spider-Man Miles Morales consumes as much energy as 18 full charges of smartphones. If 100,000 people arrive at the end of the game (i.e. 100,000 x 15 hours), that would generate 230 tonnes of carbon. Put simply, this is equivalent to polluting 45 cars over a period of one year.
Fortnite, the most popular game on the planet, is available on both consoles, adapted in 4K and 60 FPS. Again, the results are not brilliant, since the game consumes 216 Watts per hour on PS5 and 178 Watts on Xbox Series X. Consumption has a direct impact on your wallet, since playing Fortnite on PS5 you will cost between 8 and 40 euros per year depending on your habits.
The NRDC also reports that if 70 million people buy the PS5 or Xbox and play it 2 hours a week, it would be 1.1 million tonnes of carbon that would be rejected in a year. And that number only counts energy consumption, excluding all the logistics needed to get the machine to your living room.
Indie games are the good students of the study
But all is not bleak in the world of video games. This excessive consumption does indeed concern than the so-called AAA games, that is, the big blockbusters. Independent games, often less ambitious in terms of graphics, consume much less. For example Dead Cells consumes only 84 Watts per hour on Series X and 77 Watts on PS5.
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Both consoles offer a sleep mode which, fortunately, is not very greedy. By leaving it on, it only requires one Watt per hour. If you turn off your machine completely, this consumption logically drops to zero. However, it should be noted that the Xbox Series X has an “Instant Start” mode that should be disabled if you are concerned about the environment, since it draws between 10 and 20 watts per hour.
Finally, the study looks at the multimedia aspect of the new consoles, especially on streaming. Using your PS5 to watch series on Netflix or Disney + consumes less than playing with it, but still consumes. So the PS5 asks 63 Watts per hour in steaming, against 45 Watts for the Xbox.
An interesting study that shows how consoles are not really the allies of the environment. Is it really a surprise?