Gaming and your energy bill

Blogger Kayte, from reminisces about the summer she got addicted to gaming. And then shares her realisation that home consoles are certainly adding to her energy bill.

My first experience with electronic gaming was in the early eighties. Every summer our family would spend two weeks in an apartment overlooking the beach.

One of my strongest memories of those years is the summer I got addicted. Addicted to a game called Galaga. The game was in the apartment building’s recreation room and all the kids would hang out there in the evenings.

I would arrive with one dollar in twenty-cent pieces and set myself a daily goal of getting to the next level. It was a bit like Space Invaders, but better! I was very sad at the end of that particular holiday: saying goodbye to Galaga was hard. But I knew there would always be next year…

To my horror, by the time we got back 12 months later my beloved Galaga had been replaced with another game called Frogger – a travesty to a 10-year-old.

Games, games, games, consoles in every home

Now, of course, there are more games and consoles than ever, and the costs are going directly to our home energy bills.  

There’s the cost of owning it, the cost of the games, the accessories etc, and then you plug it in – and start paying for all the power. That’s right: your gaming console is adding to your energy bill, even when no one is playing it.

Games consoles aren’t really made for energy efficiency

The US Natural Resources Defense Council reviewed gaming consoles and found that some were poorly designed and wasteful on energy consumption.1 Some companies insist that they’re delivering what customers need – quicker boot-up times and automatic downloads – but while these features save time, they also add significant dollars to your energy bill.

The Council adds that Americans alone spend $1 billion a year in power costs simply by playing game consoles.2 While measures have been added to help counter this cost, like an energy-saving option during start-up, but it’s up to the consumer to use it.

So how can you make sure your console is not going to turn into an energy-sucking, money-hungry machine?

It’s so simple. Turn it off at the power point when not in use.

Bye bye standby

Even in standby mode, a gaming console, old plasma television and sound bar that’s just sitting idle all day while the kids are at school or you’re at work will cost around $80 a year3, according to energy expert Anne Armansin. And many houses have two or more consoles! That adds up pretty quickly.

So remember that power point. Or better still; send the kids over to my place where backyard cricket replaced staring at a screen years ago.

About the author

Kayte Murphy (Mrs Woog) is a mouthy 40-something housewife from the burbs. In her blog Woogsworld she shares her thoughts about all kinds of things like family, politics, food, travel, some very lame attempts at fashion, social issues, wine, cheese. And she writes a lot about laundry. Mrs Woog is pretty much running late all the time, and will more often or not turn up somewhere with food spilt down her top.


  1. P. Delforge and N.Horowitz 2014, ‘The Latest Generation Video Game Consoles- How much energy do they waste when you’re not playing?’, The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
  2. P. Delforge and N.Horowitz 2014, ‘The Latest Generation Video Game Consoles- How much energy do they waste when you’re not playing?’, The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
  3. Data based on maximum registered standby for plasma TV 43.4W source, running for a period of 20 hours per day, plus a gaming console on maximum standby of 1.6W, in addition to a sound bar and sub woofer at 9W.

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