Between being stuck at home and the popularity of Nintendo's Animal Crossing, people are spending even more time in front of screens and game consoles. Did you know some gaming features like gesture recognition, connectivity, wireless controllers and the ability to stream live Internet content can draw power even when they are not using them?
When all features are maximized, today’s game consoles can consume a lot of your home's energy. Here are some tips for a variety of game consoles to help you reduce energy use and save money.
Activate power-saving settings
Xbox One comes set-up to listen for the “Xbox On” command to turn on and allow other devices to access it via the network. By configuring the “Energy-saving” Power Mode, you can disable such features and drop the Xbox One’s standby power use by 98 percent!
The Play Station 4 (PS4) with software updates enters a low power “Rest” mode after one hour of inactivity, which can be reduced to save even more. Users can also enable time limits for USB power charging when the PS4 is in “Rest” mode.
The Wii U’s power consumption is already optimized in all non-gaming modes, consuming less than half a watt when your console is standing by.
Turn off the controllers
The PS4 includes a useful feature that allows the controllers to turn themselves off when not in use. You can choose to turn off your controllers automatically after 10, 30 or 60 minutes, depending on your gaming habits.
Xbox’s Kinect accessory can instantly recognize your body move ments. This feature can use up to 14 watts when the game console is in use. So if you don’t use Kinect often, consider disconnecting it.
Keep up on your updates
For example, with a previous Sony update, the PS4 powered down automatically and the USB ports enter a much lower power state once connected controllers are fully charged, dropping the power consumption by over 65 percent.
For the best efficiency choice, plug your set-top box cable directly into the first HDMI port on your TV and connect the Xbox to a secondary HDMI port on your TV. Plugging your set-top box into your Xbox requires the Xbox to consume power even when you are not gaming — almost as much power as your TV.
Rethink your streaming source
Streaming through a game console uses up to 10 times more energy than streaming on a laptop or tablet. Consider using another kind of device to stream, like a Bluray player, set-top box or smart TV that has earned EPA’s ENERGY STAR, which also uses comparatively less energy.
As more updates become available, gaming companies will continue to create more energy saving modes and tricks. Check back for more updates as they become available.