News Article

Wii U Reportedly Uses Less Energy to Run Than Wii and Rivals

Posted by Alex Phillimore

Natural Resources Defense Council highlights low energy use

A report by the the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests that the Wii U annually consumes less energy than the Wii, as shown in the graph below:


The graph, which is designed to show how much energy your console drains across the year, illustrates that the Wii U is more effective in reducing energy costs annually than the Wii, showing a positive step towards lowering electricity bills in households over the previous generation.

Comparatively, both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One more than double in energy consumption from the previous generation, with the Xbox One burning the most into your bills.

The full report, which contains all sorts of interesting facts and figures, can be read here. Are you surprised by the above statistics and the relatively low energy demand of the Wii U?


From the web

User Comments (124)



AdanVC said:

The most efficient industrial design/engineers prize goes to those who work at Nintendo. Huge props to them. So Wii U literally uses the same energy as a light bulb. Damn good to know

Eww @ that Xbox One energy consumption though...



DreamOn said:

It's an actually awesome detail about Wii U. It doesn't make the processing any more impressive which is an actual selling point, but our beautiful earth is better for it.



Mega719 said:

Now I even have more reasons to stick with the Wii U the whole gen.If i buy it's rivals i'm just endangered the earth



Meaty-cheeky said:

Good Wii U saves us a lot of money on our electric bill.

Impressive. I know the original Wii was very low on power consumption, but the more powerful Wii U is even more energy efficient than the Wii is truly an achievement..



unrandomsam said:

Hard to find information. The figures for the Wii I have found seem to say it is £6 a year but I suppose that is with wii connect 24 active.

So you save about 45p a year. (6/100) * 7.5 = 0.45



faint said:

I remember reading that they lowered the processing power to achieve this. Can't remember where tho.



Meaty-cheeky said:

Poor Xbox One owners they have to pay so much money to game on that system.
$499.99 XBOX +Kincet $59.99 XBOX Live + Higher Electric bill = $$$$



unrandomsam said:

If they really cared about it then they would have a proper off switch.

(Also doesn't say whether its is in use power consumption or just standby.)

They might just think people won't use the Wii U very much so it won't cost anything.



Andyliini said:

So, Nintendo went ecofriendly route this time, maybe trying to fight against the energy crisis, that was around a few years back?

Sadly, gamers alren't really concerned of this...



unrandomsam said:

@Andyliini They were more concerned about having a system that "mum wouldn't mind in the living room". (That is the only thing I remember them saying publicly.)



withoutdk said:


I thought so too... It was actually one of the reasons for me wanting it

And ps4 uses less than ps3 afaik..

But people forget about energy consumption or does not care



HAL9000 said:

They had a great Iwata asks concerning the efficiency of the console. I found this very interesting.

Being eco-friendly does make a difference to some people. I consider the efficient energy usage in the purchase of my console.



djtwenty9 said:

What is true power? I think we have our answer. I for one don't want an expensive power bill.



kdognumba1 said:

So basically, with Wii U you have Backwards Compatibility with the previous gens controllers, you have free online, and the system takes up an incredibly low amount of energy.

Regardless of if you like or dislike the system or games, the fact of the matter is you're saving quite a bit of money going Wii U. Personally, myself, the more money I have freed up to spend on things, the better.



SleepyCrossing said:

Maybe Nintendo should start catering to radical environmentalist groups as part of their consumer base!

In all seriousness, that is good to hear and its a nice victory for the Wii U, regardless of how small. (though for some, this actually has an impact). To be honest, if they actively advertised it as an energy-saving game console, they would get some nice press/support for that..



sinalefa said:

Well, it is obvious. We all know the Wii U is underpowered.

Hard to believe none of our resident trolls came up with this one. I feel disappointed now.



somari said:

@squid, so more people bought an xbox one than ps4. And with Mario kart 8 around i think the wii u well outsale the xbox one.



Vincent294 said:

@AdanVC Damn impressive. Less powerful but still way more efficient. Never hurts my chances of buying one given the otherwise tempting Xbox One. One thing that isn't so beautiful about the One: energy consumption.



Dr_Corndog said:

Wow, look at that XBox One bar. Not surprised, though. Microsoft's consoles have pretty much always been inefficiently designed.



Shambo said:

I'm always surprised when I pull out the plug, how long it takes for Wii U's red standby light to stop shining...
As for XBone, must be NSA watching your living room.



absuplendous said:

I'm especially impressed by the Wii U's standby power draw. I'm most surprised by how comparatively inefficient all game consoles with video streaming compared to dedicated devices. Maybe I should consider a Roku box after all...



marck13 said:

No matter what some are saying. This low energy consumption is very impressive! Further proof that Nintendo goes more "Next-Gen" then Sony and MS with the Wii U.



Mk_II said:

Yet Nintendo always scores the worst in Greenpeace annual electronics report. Why? Because they don't play along with that theatre and don't submit the data Greenpeace demands.



Excep7ional said:

@somari Nah, PS4 is still outselling the X1. X1 still has the best selling software though, but lets not turn this comment section into a sales discussion/debate.

@topic I think this is pretty cool. Now I don't have to feel bad about long gaming hours whenever I play on the Wii-U.



ACK said:

We've known the Wii U uses about 33w to play games since launch. It's the pound-for-pound king. An incredible achievement that is nearly completely ignored despite, in the ecological sense, being more cutting edge than any other console ever created. (We often gauge technological advancement in terms of raw power, but many of the most practical and useful innovations allow similar performance at drastically reduced cost).

@unrandomsam It's true that energy storage is currently impractical; however, the issue is demand. As power consumption increases with each generation, the electricity required to facilitate our gaming demands will increase. Meaning more fuel and/or power plants need to be utilized. Since that energy cannot be stored, the grid will have to adapt to the highest levels of demand. (Like hot summers with, say, tens of millions of XB1 owners heavily gaming, "snapping", and accessing gigantic (cloud) server farms while cranking up the air conditioners, sound systems, and whatever else mildly enhances their sheltered experience.)

It's easy to say rely more on Hydro (a shockingly small percentage of US energy production) or Nuclear, but those are not necessarily infallible solutions. Great American rivers such as the Colorado River have been strangled by dams from massive waterways into literal streams. Nuclear waste cannot be disposed of and so in the USA we have massive leaking underground containment fields that cost hundreds of billions of dollars to provide ineffective, polluting storage. Considering the lengthy half-lifes of the radioactive materials, this is a major issue with no solution and intense cost to the environment.

Moreover, the security, stability, and sustainability of our current Nuclear power plants are in doubt. We haven't built a new power plant in this country in decades and many of the plants in operation are in disarray, quickly built on risky, threatened, and incompatible locations chosen for convenience and price rather than long-term suitability. The ability to withstand natural disasters is a serious, unproven issue. I live about 60 miles from a nuclear power plant that is located in the northern extent of Tornado Alley. It's widely accepted in this area that one unlucky tornado path could leave us all in a nuclear fallout. Even worse, it's built upon a 500 year dike that was breached and very nearly failed several years ago. And this plant is considered safe. You would not believe some of the precarious situations in which plants are operating (such as directly above San Andreas fault).

Constructing sentences is a triviality, but there are no easy answers for the demands of modern society.



Daemonite said:

hey look, another article comparing the WiiU with PS4/X1... and this time the WiiU comes out on top!!! FANBOYS REJOICE!!!
Seriously, how many click-bait articles can this site publish a week?!?



GamerZack87 said:

Woohoo! I knew that Wii U could do some things better than PS4 and Xbox One, and this is just marvellous! Not to mention the fact that I'm conscious about conserving energy nowadays.

@Action51 That made me lol a little bit.



faint said:

@memoryman3 yup doesn't matter to me tho. I only care about how fun my games are to play. I still but out my dreamcast for this very reason. I wouldn't be surprised if ninty is kicking themselves over this desision tho



faint said:

@memoryman3 yup doesn't matter to me tho. I only care about how fun my games are to play. I still but out my dreamcast for this very reason. I wouldn't be surprised if ninty is kicking themselves over this desision tho



Mahe said:

Wii U's standby usage is just slightly lower than Wii's, and that small difference adds up in all the time that the console is on standby.

In use, however, Wii U uses more energy than Wii, which is to be expected.



R_Champ said:


Awesome This just made my day. And holy crap at PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One! Everyone is saying "Wii U has lower processing so lower power usage hurr, hurr." But the processing power isn't THAT different to be using more than double the energry. Heck, even 360 and PS3 used more than Wii U!



unrandomsam said:

@Mahe It is about equivalent to the price of one VC game in 10 years which is insignificant. (I bet they are comparing a wii connect 24 enabled one as well).



joey302 said:

I'm very happy wii u has low power consumption - now give me more reasons to turn the sucker on!!



DespyCL said:

Good to know, this will be useful when I start playing mario kart 8 all day everyday.




@Xiao_Pai Adorable avatar
Everyone should buy the WiiU now! Less energy wasted from the console, and less energy wasted on the TV too...because the TV won't be on...because there aren't that many games to play on WiiU >_>



Artwark said:

@Meaty-cheeky I think Nintendo's trying to tell us that you can make a system powerful and at the same time make it consume less power so that it maintains that balance.



mercurio2054 said:

why some people says that it is because no one turn on the wiiu.... is a test, they do that with the same rules for all the console guys!
@ACK great contribution to thetopic



kenzo said:

According to physicists, electronics currently uses 1 million times more energy than it theoretically needs to.

Already there are electronics developments in the pipeline which promise 1,000 x smaller energy use for the same computational power. For example spintronics, topological insulators and memresistors.



CanisWolfred said:

And here I thought it only saved me electricity because I never turn it on!

...someone had to make that joke...



NintyMan said:

Considering Wii U is much more powerful than Wii and still uses less electricity is really an impressive achievement. You have to give credit to Nintendo's hardware engineers.



ultraraichu said:

I'm not sure what is more surprising. That the PS4 and Xbox One uses more then double the energy then its past gen., the Wii U using almost half the energy then the PS3 and Xbox 360, or that it uses less then the Wii.
Screw it, I'll go with option 3 just because it goes against what I believed in. More power and features require more energy, especially if it's ≥ then the PS360



allav866 said:

I'm more surprised by the XBone's energy consumption than the Wii U's convenient lack thereof! That thing's a power-hungry animal! I hope Nintendo continues to develop systems with energy consumption in mind.



Ren said:

How about even more savings AND fun by just not turning on a WiiU at all! there are a lot more games that way and save money.



Sean_Aaron said:

Damn the PS4 and XBONE are pigs. Isn't energy usage supposed to go down with supposed improvements in technology? Do they have wind-tunnel-like fans as well?



bmprsvz777 said:

It is not that simple, how can you compare 8-core Jaguar HD 7870 APU in PS4/XBO and 3-core Espresso HD 6670 in Wii U? It is like to compare 3-cylinder and 8-cylinder petrol engine. Some consoles are more powerful than others and that is why they need more electricity: PS4 is capable approx. of 1.84 teraflops, XBO 1.1 teraflops, Wii U 360 gigaflops, PS3 218 gigaflops an Xbox360 115 gigaflops... You should calculate computing power/power consumption ratio to be unbiased. Gamepad is another problem, it also needs power from somewhere, it has an extra battery and extra LCD... it is not ecologic to produce those. Like it or not but gaming is not ecologic at all no matter what you play on. Wii U uses less energy to run than it's rivals but for a price (less computing power). By the way did you know that Wii U CPU Espresso is just enhanced (higher clock speed + more cache) Gekko CPU from GameCube x3?



riptide said:

my country faces allot of blackout's and i use a inverter to play my 360. this give me a whole new reason to buy a wiiU. thank you nintendo.



unrandomsam said:

@bmprsvz777 Either should be able to run in a low power state. Don't think any of the PPC / ATI stuff is on when the Wii U is in standby. (Just the ARM9).

AMD certainly has the technology to disable all the cores except one and the GPU part and underclock.



Laxeybobby said:

Mine certainly does as its hardly ever switched on
Yet im sure that's about to change when MK8 arrives.



Jmaster said:

And nobody questions why? The Wii U's processor has a much LOWER clockspeed than those of BOTH the Xbox 360 and PS3. This makes porting games over all the more complicated, slows down the OS, and makes it difficult to program for, thereby increasing the time it takes to create games. All to make the console smaller and more energy-efficient.

Somebody please fire the people who thought that was a good idea...



Zombie_Barioth said:

Well of course, but thats not the point of the report. Have you looked at it? They're actually looking at efficiency among other things. Its considering everything from sitting standby to actually gaming. Its more about what they've done right and how things can improve than which console is the best choice for the eco-conscious. They also compare them to past consoles.

A lot of that power is actually from things like video streaming and the Xbox's TV features. Apparently neither are all that great at power-scaling, funny considering they're build around AMD's APUs. Thats one of the main points in using them.



AyeHaley said:

And MS wants people to use the Xbox as a cable box...Pretty expensive.
I'm surprised the Wii U uses less energy than the Wii. But did they include power needed for the Wii U GamePad?



ScorpionMG said:

@Mahe well at least the wii u turns off after one hour... you don't know how many times my wii was left open all night.... lol



bmprsvz777 said:

Zombie_Barioth, interesting numbers, I looked at that report, it might be interesting to compare consoles to gaming PC too. Power usage of 750 watt gaming PC turned on for 24 hours: 10 amps X 110 volts = 1,100 watts x 24 hours = cca 26,400 watts = 26.4 Kwh/24 hours ! Computer doesn't run on 100% all the time of course, but still it is scary number.



Artwark said:

@Nik-Davies It may not help in sales, but it will certainly help the environment which we really need to care at this point of time.



MussakkuLaden said:

If I'm not mistaken, the previous versions of the X360 and PS3 consumed a lot more energy, comparable (or even above) their successors. While this may not be relevant to someone who buys one of the 6 consoles NOW, it still seems important for a fair comparison. It can be assumed that future "small" versions of PS4 and XOne will consume less energy again.



Lobster said:

I remember reading this over a year ago in an Iwata Asks. He said they designed the Wii U (and also the Wii) with low energy consumption in mind. So that doesn't surprise me, I knew it was more energy efficient than the other two. I just didn't know HOW MUCH more, and that it even beat out the Wii. Interesting but not overly surprising.



Ichiban said:

im glad i unplugged my PS4 a few weeks back! Now i know how much power i'm saving and i dont have to look at that huge, ugly orange light!



Pod said:

The Wii U seems in other tests to be peaking at more than double the power consumption of the Wii, 40 Watt against 17 Watt, and I would say the Wii U is producing the fan noise to prove it.

I'm sure on a yearly basis it would use less, however. The Wii's default stand-by function ran at 11 Watt, which many seemed to think was quite a lot. It was obviously caused by the Wi-Fi never quite shutting off, and the Wii U just might handle that more elegantly.



ACK said:

@heathenmagic A lot of things to respond to in this thread, but this seems the most salient: You're right on, more processing power does not make a game better or increase it's value by default, while consuming less energy does make an activity more sustainable, ecologically sound, and overall less costly by practically any measure.



Dreamz said:

Well, given that the Wii U released after the Fukushima incident, I wonder if this was perhaps a conscious decision made with power scarcity in mind?



Daemonite said:

haha, you guys make ps4/x1-gamers sound like they're all a bunch of eco-terrorists... seriously, if you're that concerned about saving energy, quit playing videogames entirely and take up knitting or something!



Dpullam said:

I'm actually a little surprised at how high the energy consumption of the PS4 and Xbox One is compared to the Wii U. I understand those systems use more powerful tech, but the Wii U's is even lower than the Wii's! That's pretty impressive if you ask me.



iphys said:

Lol, so you can spend 6 hours a day actually gaming on your Wii U before you even use as much electricity as the competitors use just being plugged in doing nothing all day.



BertoFlyingFox said:

Yes, I'm definitely surprised at the results over all. WiiU is the most energy efficient by a ridiculous amount. That's a true feat in video game console engineering



millarrp said:

Considering the rates that electricity charges seem to be rising I am not complaining. Although I wonder if this factors in the energy associated with charging the gamepad



Darknyht said:

That is impressive numbers even taking into consideration the smaller processor in the Wii U. I still don't buy the bigger is automatically better argument in video gaming or in life. There are some things that the XBO/PS4 can do that the Wii U cannot but the "Restrictions make great designs" mantra is still true.



SetupDisk said:

I remember in the early 2000's there was talk of making PC's more efficient in power consumption and programming as well. Of course PC's for the most part have done the complete opposite and programming gets even more lazy as storage costs decrease.

Nice to see Nintendo is good at both.



archlord said:

I will definitely be purchasing the Wii U version of a game if it exists from now on. Unfortunately, I doubt we will see more Wii U versions in the future given the difference in architecture and likelihood of low sales of Wii U copies in general.



element187 said:

If the UN gets their wish to have their global energy taxes, which will in turn double and triple electricity costs in developed nations, this would be a selling point.... But until the radicals achieve that (let's hope they fail miserably) probably isn't worth a bullet point yet.



DarkKirby said:

A less powerful system using less energy isn't exactly a surprise.

It's like saying you're surprised a motorcycle is using less gas than a pickup truck.



Action51 said:

@element187 - I think you need to relax a little on the far-right politics. When the U.N. black helicopters come down to implant the secret tracking chips in your head that will force you into the hellish radical tyranny of buying more energy efficient light bulbs...then we should be worried.



element187 said:

@Action51 sorry to burst your bubble but I despise conservatives and republicans almost as much as the Marxist currently in power, so try again.

I find it amusing you think this group is there for the betterment of society and not their own ambitions of power and money. A global tax has been on their wish list for decades, no conspiracy needed, they are even open and honest about it. You should spend some time reading what the UN does and the different resolutions they pass on a yearly basis. Im amazed at the amount of people who don't read and act shocked when they hear this "no way, black helicopters, nerf"

It's even reported in that bastion of radical right wing propaganda (that was sarcasm) known as Reuters

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