A recent report focusing on the latest generation of gaming consoles suggests that these powerful machines offer impressive standby modes, but can consume energy depending on how you use them. The Natural Resources Council says that while the new range of Microsoft Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation 5 consoles make it easier to stream services like Netflix or Disney +, they can consume 10 to 25 times more power than a special streaming device.
The report, released last week, focuses on the recently released Microsoft Xbox Series S and Series X, as well as Sony’s PlayStation 5 with and without a built-in disk drive. Practical tests rely on the Series S and both versions of the PS5, and the group̵
The power history changes a bit when these new consoles run games designed for previous generation consoles, also known as backward compatibility. Thanks to performance improvements in their more up-to-date hardware, new consoles can work with these older titles often with better performance, while consuming less power than the consoles they replaced.
As for streaming, we noted that these new game consoles have much more than enough horsepower to serve as capable streaming devices. However, NRDC data show that all-in-one convenience may be due to higher energy bills. The group estimates that using a new Xbox or PlayStation console to stream Netflix or similar services may require 10 to 25 times more power than if you used a special box such as, say, a Roku Ultra or Chromecast with Google TV.
For example, the Xbox Series S, which is designed to be cheaper and less powerful than the Series X or PS5, needed approximately 31 watts for streaming from Netflix and 41 watts for Amazon Prime during NRDC testing. The more powerful PS5 uses about 68 to 70 watts for the same services, and the Series X may require similar power.
With all this in mind, NRDC praised Microsoft and Sony for improving performance when these new consoles are not in use. The new machines can consume less than 1 watt when in so-called standby or rest modes, although the group recommends that Sony and Microsoft look for ways to further improve their respective energy-saving options.
In general, it’s not so shocking that high-end gaming machines consume a lot of energy, but it’s interesting to see how all of this can be put together, especially if you’re looking to save money on your energy bill. The Xbox S / X and PS5 series are certainly very capable streaming devices – even if some features, such as 4K output via the PS5’s Disney + app, are still missing. But if power consumption is an issue (and you have the budget and availability of HDMI to solve it), a special streamer can be a good investment.