Photo: ginnerobot under a Creative Commons license.
If you're looking into getting a new video game console this holiday season, here's one more criterion to take into consideration: energy consumption. The Electric Power Research Institute this week released a report comparing the Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. After an hour of playing Madden NFL 11 on each, the EPRI had some pretty clear-cut results: the Wii uses less than one sixth the power consumed by the other two consoles; 13.7 watts, compared to 8.48 for the PlayStation and 87.9 for the Xbox.But the reason for the enormous difference is easy to find: the Xbox and PlayStation offer much higher quality graphics. And while energy consumption is unlikely to be a major factor in consumers' decisions regarding which console to purchase, Mark McGranaghan, vice president of Power Delivery & Utilization for EPRI, is glad that the information is out there:
Consumers have become increasingly aware of how much electricity their household electronics consume, whether in active use or when the hardware is in standby mode. While the overall trend is toward more efficient electronics, these tests clearly show that if you're a power-conscious consumer you may want to ask questions or check more closely.
And since 73% of American households have a gaming device, with the Xbox, Wii and PlayStation making up a major chunk of those, we're glad the information is out there, too.