On Wednesday, NRDC released a study claiming that video game consoles are wasting $1 billion per year. There's a lot of interesting research in the study, including the differences in power consumption between different games and how the PS3 is incredibly inefficient as a Blu-ray player compared to standalone models.
The headline-grabbing "$1 billion wasted" claim, however, seems hyped in our opinion. Digging into the report, we found that the one of the assumptions used in deriving this figure is that 50% of gamers leave their consoles on all the time--24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That seemed unbelievable, so we dug a little deeper to see how the NRDC came up with this number. Here's what we found:
While we are unaware of any user data revealing the percentage of users who turn off their consoles after use, we have found anecdotally that many users leave their consoles on all the time. Some turn off their televisions at the end of a session [...], while others keep their consoles on in order not to lose progress in a game.
I certainly used to leave my NES on to save my progress on Bubble Bobble, but with modern game consoles, saving is much easier, and I don't know anyone that leaves their console on to save their progress anymore. The study addresses the assumption again later on:
The lack of concrete information on usage cycles for video game consoles, and particularly consoles that can also function as DVD players, led us to develop usage scenarios in which 50 percent of users turn off their consoles when they are done playing a game or watching a movie, and 50 percent of users leave the device on continuously. Since we know the power use of the consoles by mode, we are able to estimate the annual energy use and operational costs to consumers for each of the major consoles on the market today.… Read more