I’m not sure who commissioned this report, or why it’s being treated as news, or why I’m even posting it. Actually, I know why I’m posting it: for the purpose of mockery.
The EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) did a few tests on current-gen consoles, and found that they use quite a bit of power. Combine that with the fact that these consoles are popular and heavily used, and you arrive inescapably at the shocking conclusion that there is power being consumed in quantity.
The wattage required to run a Wii is, not surprisingly, significantly lower than that required to run a 360 or a PS3. Isn’t that pretty much stated in the specifications? At any rate, if the consoles are in use for six hours a day (!), then by using some ridiculous arithmetic, Scientific American has found that “Video Gamers Use as Much Energy as San Diego”! I like the following passage:
Much of the energy use isn’t even from playing video games, according to NRDC — it’s from the idling that goes on after the gamer has left the room. The group said idling uses about as much energy as playing.
If gamers turned off their systems when they finished playing, and if manufacturers made systems that turned themselves off when inactive, consumers would save $1 billion a year in utility bills, NRDC said.
But part of the issue is behavior. Today, in many games, turning off a system means the player would lose progress before he can return to it.
I just love the way these figures and facts are thrown around as if they’re obvious, when in fact there is almost nothing being said, and what is being said is almost completely arbitrary and completely misses the point. Help! Gamers are destroying our power infrastructure! They’ll bring the whole country down!
The simple fact is that game consoles are a popular appliance that draw a fair amount of power, like refrigerators and heating systems. And TVs, of course, the power draw of which can easily dwarf the measly hundred watts drawn by a PS3. Yet you don’t see articles crying out “Cold Food Lovers Use as Much Energy as Nicaragua!”
Just a lot of fuss about nothing, if you ask me.