According to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, over the course of a year the latest generation of consoles will dedicate more energy use to streaming video and the barebones functionality of standby mode than they will playing actual video games. The NRDC claims the Xbox One as the biggest energy hog of the bunch, citing its voice command functionality which allows users to bring the machine out of standby with a quick vocal command. Of course, this requires the machine to be constantly "listening," and that requires a 24/7 supply of electricity.
Sony doesn't escape the NRDC's notice, as the report claims the PlayStation 4 uses inefficient charging methods to power its controllers. The Wii U is efficient when compared to its console counterparts, but remains a far larger drain on the average home's electricity than almost any other appliance.
"Gamers shouldn't be locked into higher electric bills for the lifetime of their consoles just because manufacturers haven't optimized the performance of their products," stated NRDC director of high-tech energy efficiency Pierre Delforge, whose team lead the study.
"[I]f Microsoft and Sony follow NRDC's recommendations, they could cut the new consoles' electricity use by one-fourth beyond current projections through software and hardware optimizations, saving U.S. consumers $250 million on their annual utility bills and enough energy to power all the households in San Jose, America's 10th-largest city," Delforge added.