Nintendo Wii draws least console power
It might be too late to factor this in post-Christmas, but a nonprofit research organization has studied the power consumption of the three major game consoles, and found there's a big winner when it comes to energy efficiency: the Nintendo Wii.
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) said the Wii system uses one-sixth the juice of Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox 360.
In a press release, EPRI scientists said they tested the consoles playing EA Sports' Madden 2011 football game, not because they're huge football fans but because the game is popular and available on all three platforms.
The Nintendo Wii system used an average of 13.7 watts, Sony PlayStation 3 used an average of 84.8 watts and Microsoft Xbox 360 used an average of 87.9 watts.
Gamers might argue this isn't a shocking revelation, given the Wii's relatively simple graphics, and the guys in the white coats would agree.
"Obviously there are many considerations when looking at a gaming system and we're only talking about energy use," Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery and utilization for EPRI, said in a statment.
"The more graphically intensive systems will, by design, require more energy."
Citing Nielsen statistics for hardcore users, who spend nearly six hours a day on their consoles, EPRI said that on an annual basis the Wii would use 29 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, PlayStation 178 and Xbox 184.
Electricity costs vary greatly throughout the county and world, but using the U.S. average of 12 cents per kWh, the Wii would save around $18 annually compared to the other systems.
In 2009, the National Resources Defense Council said the three major systems together consumed an estimated 16 billion kWh of electricity per year.