Playing Dirty

Geek Culture


Greenpeace has a new campaign out, hammering on the toxic pollution threat present in current generation video game consoles; the press release has been making the rounds of the usual web sites.  On its Clash of the Consoles site, the organization tries its hand at reaching the video game crowd, putting up game meter-style info, edgy graphics and an attempt at video-game vernacular (e.g. "…you can hep battle the boss monsters to green their game…").

The site provides test results for the three current consoles -XBox 360, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii- and takes the manufacturers to task for including highly toxic materials in their products.  Brominated fire retardants (linked to impairment in memory and learning functions) and DEHP (known to interfere in sexual development of male mammals), in particular, are singled out.  Also of concern to Greenpeace is the contribution video game consoles make to the growing issue of e-waste.  If Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo would take back their consoles when they become outdated and recycle the components, the world would be a cleaner place and Greenpeace could move on to another target.

While it isn’t singled out the way the pollution aspect is, power consumption is also a concern in terms of the future greening of video game consoles.  Some info is available at Greenpeace, but Hardcoreware is one of a number of sites that track detailed energy consumption of game consoles.  One number to make you think: 177 Watts.  That’s the amount of power a PS3 draws if you leave it on at night instead of putting it on standby; at 10 cents per hour, leaving your PS3 on all the time would run you nearly $90 per year, not to mention the heat it throws off.  The Wii is a miserly (in comparison) at 13.5 Watts.  All consoles’ consumption drops significantly if you put them on standby, although they still consume power even in that mode.

Energy leakage is a sneaky villain to be tackled another time…

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