The Commission believes that this voluntary agreement between the three main manufacturers of game consoles –Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony – is ambitious enough to deliver benefits to consumers and the environment. It is expected to generate annual energy savings equivalent to the monthly electricity consumption of a small EU country like Lithuania.
Scope of the agreement
The voluntary agreement contains industry commitments on minimum energy efficiency levels for all game consoles to be placed on the market when they are used in “navigation mode” and “media playback mode”. It also includes a commitment to attempt to cover the “gaming mode” (the main mode of a console) when it is first revised in 2017. Provisions to make consoles easier to repair by making spare parts and technical documentation available, as well as easier to disassemble, are also included.
Benefits for consumers
Consumers will receive more information on the energy consumption of the game consoles they buy. They will also receive more information on how to minimise consumption, for example by setting the auto-power-down function. The cumulative energy savings to be made through this voluntary agreement will be in the region of 1 TWh per year by 2020.
Monitoring the agreement
The Commission sits on the Steering Board supervising the application of the agreement together with the signatories. An independent Inspector verifies that the commitments are being fulfilled. If the Commission finds evidence that the agreement is not being upheld, regulatory action will be considered.
Why doesn't the agreement cover gaming mode?
The energy consumption of a console in gaming mode is subject to many factors, similar to the fuel consumption of a car driven in varying conditions. The manufacturers need time to come up with representative and reproducible measurement tests for energy consumption in gaming mode. Eventual energy consumption limits must also ensure that the customer's gaming experience is not compromised.