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Greenest game for the power-conscious: Nintendo Wii

Since it is just about a week before the electronics world's annual pilgrimage for the Consumer Electronics show, I felt this item was particularly appropriate. I was poking around various Web sites for green technology news this morning, when I came across this press release from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): Turns out that the Nintendo Wii system uses approximately 6X less power in active mode than either the Sony Playstation or the Microsoft Xbox 360.

Since it is just about a week before the electronics world's annual pilgrimage for the Consumer Electronics show, I felt this item was particularly appropriate. I was poking around various Web sites for green technology news this morning, when I came across this press release from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI): Turns out that the Nintendo Wii system uses approximately 6X less power in active mode than either the Sony Playstation or the Microsoft Xbox 360.

All three systems were tested using the EA Sports Madden 2011 football game. EPRI says that the Wii uses an average of 13.7 watts during active play, compared with 84.8 watts used by the Playstation 3 and 87.9 watts by the Xbox 360.

EPRI combined those findings with some relatively dated research from the Nielsen Company (gaming trends from 2006) that figure that the most intense gamers account for 75 percent of all gaming users AND that that crowd uses their console for an average of 5 hours and 45 minutes each day. Using that as a base, EPRI figures these users would burn about 178 kilowatt hours annually with a Playstation 3, and 184 kilowatt hours per year with an Xbox 360. That compares with 29 kilowatt hours in a year for the Wii.

Says Mark McGranaghan, vice president of power delivery and utilization for EPRI:

"Obviously, there are many considerations when looking at a gaming system and we're only talking about energy use. There are also tradeoffs associated with graphics and speed that drive higher energy use and consumers will need to factor those elements in as well. The more graphically intensive systems will, by design, require more energy.

By the way, that doesn't account for the television connected to your box. EPRI estimates that a plasma television sucks up an average of 242 kilowatt hours per year. So, even though the average couch potato isn't burning a lot of calories, he or she is burning plenty of electricity.

Gee, I guess it's a good thing that the Climate Savers Computing Initiative is making power management for electronics devices a focus of their next big campaign (after networking).