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PS4 and Xbox One cost four times more to power than older consoles



Today's top consoles cost modern gamers four times as much to power as older consoles, it's been revealed.

We all know that gaming is an expensive pastime, with consoles costing £300 to £400 and top games costing around £50 each. But that's pretty much been the case ever since the '90s.

There's another way that modern gamers are being hit in the pocket, however, that stands in stark contrast to a couple of decades ago.

British Gas has revealed some startling figures from a report it commissioned the Centre for Economic and Business Research to conduct. Apparently, powering a modern console costs four times as much as it did in the 1990s.

To give some specific numbers here, the PS4 costs the average gamer £35 per year to power, whilst the Xbox One costs £43.

Compare that to the Sega Megadrive and SNES from the '90s, which cost £11 and £12 per year respectively, and you'll note a massive discrepancy.

"While other modern household appliances like washing machines and fridges use less energy than they did twenty years ago, the cost of games consoles continue to rise," says Daniel Colford of British Gas.

"This is not surprising given how much more functionality games consoles now have."

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Modern consoles act as media players as well as games consoles, and the Xbox One and PS4 even remain on at all times in a so-called 'low-power' state so that they can download games and updates in the background.

If rising energy costs are bothering you, British Gas recommends switching these consoles off properly when not in use. It's possible to deactivate this always-on state on both consoles, but you could always just switch them off at the wall if you're in a hurry.

Next, take a look at our PS4 vs Xbox One comparison video:

Mike Walker

December 22, 2015, 1:33 pm

Interesting article, I can remember PCS having 200w power supplies but now 800/1000w is the norm, but then again like modern consoles the computational abilities are now so much higher, comparing watts to computing power would be interesting to see.


December 22, 2015, 8:43 pm

Yes, it would also be interesting if we could find out how much more powerful the PS4 or Xbox One are, than the SNES or Megadrive. I suspect the newest generation of consoles may be 100s or 1000s times more powerful than their older counterparts.

As the report says though, today's consoles do so much more than previous generations. When the SNES or Megadrive were released, internet connectivity, online multiplayer gaming & streaming TV services were still just a twinkle in a developers eye :)


December 23, 2015, 6:05 pm

Just the tip of the iceberg. The Xbox One and PS4 also cost 4 times as much power than the Wii U, which is current gen and also cost 4 times more than any console in history thanks to monthly subscription fees.

In fact, buying an Xbox One or PS4 instead of say, a Wii U, is a very poor financial decision all around since these units also charge subscription fees on a monthly basis.

Let's do the math, shall we? If you were to purchase say, a Wii U, instead of an Xbox One or PS4, here is what you save over a 5 year console life.

Initial Hardware Savings -- $50
Extra Controller Savings -- $10-$20 per controller ($30-$60)
Energy Savings -- $3-$10 a month ($36-$120 a year) ($180-$600 over 5 years)
Subscription Fees -- $5-$10 a month ($60-120 a year) ($300-$600 over 5 years)

In the end, you will save anywhere between $560-$1,310 over a 5 year period by picking up a Wii U instead of a PS4 or an Xbox One.

Get the Wii U, it is much more green and will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Plus, it has better games anyway.

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