Arts and Entertainment

Wii wreaks havoc on electricity bills

By Denebola
Published: December 2008

By Leigh Alon

There is nothing better to take your mind off the worries of everyday life than immersing yourself in a videogame.

Out of 50 students interviewed, all 50 had played one of these systems at a friend’s house, and 39 owned one in their own home. When asked about their favorite games to play, Guitar Hero and Rock Band proved the most popular choices. It seems that with New England’s less than ideal weather patterns, these games serve as a nice way to pass the time.

All this entertainment, however, can come at an unexpected price. Anyone who loves video games has probably spent at least one long night trying to beat a game, but perhaps the time comes to go to sleep and you don’t want to lose your spot in the game so you leave the console on until the next time you play. Or maybe you take a break to watch TV or a movie and simply neglect to turn off the console. With the economy taking a turn for the worse and global warming on the rise, those few extra hours with the console on can be very detrimental. Noah Horowitz, consumer electronics expert for the Natural Resources Defense Council confirmed that nationwide videogame consoles use up about “16 billion kilowatt hours per year, which is about as much electricity used by the entirety of San Diego annually.

With the added features of internet access and the ability to download movies on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, these systems chug over 100 watts, and some gaming systems use as much electricity as two refrigerators.

Many students were not surprised to hear of the overuse of console games in America; sophomore Jen Kaufman stated that her brothers sometimes leave their console on “for days at a time. Few students, however, had any knowledge of the amount of energy consumed. Simply turning off gaming systems would remove the equivalent of all the global warming inducing pollution from all the cars in San Jose as well as save about $100 a year.

You may ask, what about those times when you have to go out to dinner or it’s 2 a.m. and you want to go to sleep without losing your game? According to Noah Horowitz there is an auto-power-down feature “buried somewhere in the menu of most videogame consoles; however, very few people know of this, and even fewer care to spend the time deciphering the lengthy and often highly confusing manual.

When the issue was brought up by the Natural Resources Defense Council, videogame companies stated they were interested in looking into incorporating a feature that, would allow the system to “go to sleep.

This feature would automatically save the ongoing game. While this alteration sounds rather insignificant, it could possibly cut the nation’s electricity bill by $1 billion.

So next time it’s a snow day and you have spent hours mastering those Cooking Mama recipes, or trying to beat that Guitar Hero song, take the time to push the off button and use those $100 saved to buy Rock Band 2.

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