The lifetime climate cost of your next-gen console

Videogame consoles aren't covered under energy efficiency regulations in Australia and NZ, but that doesn't mean there isn't a price.

When the latest generation of consoles from Microsoft and Sony were announced, they naturally made headlines for their raft of new features, cutting edge technology – and hefty pricetag. With the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X each setting a customer back AU$749.95, these consoles are no small investment. Nintendo Switch, released in 2017, has a slightly more approachable price point, but after four years it’s still sitting at its original release cost of AU$469. The initial outlay is significant, and the price don’t stop there. On top of hardware, software, accessories, and membership fees, there’s an energy cost on the consumer and the planet that runs even deeper.

XBOX Series X
According to a study conducted by Nerdwallet, the Xbox Series X is projected to cost a player AU$358 in energy expenses over a console lifetime (approximately 6 – 9 years) of 1001 hours of gaming, compared to an energy charge of approximately AU$460 for the Xbox One – but this number comes with some caveats. The console appears to be less energy hungry than the Xbox One while running games, which drew 160 watts for the same activity. However, it also includes some features that have drawn criticism from the ecologically minded. 

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Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob