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PS5 and Series X will cost $1 billion over the next 5 years

The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X ship with numerous features and advantages that push the household gaming experience to its limit. Thanks to the consoles' more powerful hardware, audiences can enjoy their favorite games with ray tracing, as well as seamlessly swap between titles with quick resume. However, everything has a price, and we're not just talking about an inability to enable ray tracing and 60 fps gameplay at the same time. No, power of this magnitude requires tons of electricity, and the more watts a device uses, the higher your electric bill climbs.

The non-profit group National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently performed a battery of tests on the PS5 and Xbox, and its findings were as surprising as they were predictable. According to the organization, each console uses at least 160 watts of electricity while playing current-gen games. That is more than the last generation and, as pointed out by NRDC, "more power than the huge 60-inch TV [the console] might be connected to uses!" Add default settings such as "instant on," and Xbox Series X gamers in the US can expect to spend a total of around $1 billion powering these boxes through 2025.

Of course, these calculations are dependent on numerous factors, namely what gamers do on their consoles. Older games designed for previous generations use less power, and even streaming can dictate the energy bill. Playing videos through built-in apps like Netflix and Hulu consume more energy than watching them through dedicated streaming devices.

Understandably, since the Xbox Series S is objectively weaker than its current-gen counterparts, the NRDC discovered it doesn't need as much electricity to fuel its performance. You might need to spend more money up front to bolster the Series S' storage space, but the console could save you more money in the long run thanks to lower electric bills.

According to the NRDC's calculations, gamers who keep their Series Xs in standby mode will collectively waste four billion kilowatt hours of electricity by the end of 2025. That's the same amount of energy produced by a large coal-burning plant within a year. More importantly, that's three million more tons of carbon dioxide you have to worry about.

However, the NRDC praised Sony for one key factor: the DualSense's battery. It might use some extra watts to charge, but it's more environmentally friendly than the Xbox's AA battery dependency.

If you want to minimize your console's contributions to your electric bill, the NRDC recommends you activate the device's "energy saving" mode and either turn it off after use or use its "auto power down" function. Your wallet will thank you, especially since you won't have to choose between buying more games to play and paying the electric bill so you can play games.