Green Gaming

Enhancing the computer gaming experience while radically reducing energy requirements.

Between 2 and 3 billion people around the world engage in digital gaming, an increasingly energy-intensive pursuit ingrained in mainstream culture. Gaming is responsible for more than one-third of all digital media consumption in the U.S, and an average of 1.7 gamers can be found in 63% of U.S. households. The average U.S. gamer is 35 years old. The number of gamers is rising, as is the amount of time spent gaming. Gaming is particularly popular in California, where an estimated 15 million non-battery-powered gaming devices are located.

We have estimated the associated global energy cost at $10 billion each year for higher-end gaming PCs alone, and rising.

Our research suggests that energy use can be reduced by 50-75% while improving performance and mitigating heat production and noise levels. However, aside from the 80 Plus labels for power supply units and ENERGY STAR ratings for computer displays, little has been done to identify energy efficiency opportunities.

This project is designed to help gamers capture the full energy savings potential while maintaining or improving the gaming experience. Major activities include:

  • Developing energy/performance measurement and benchmarking protocols

  • Benchmarking of top-selling GPCs, gaming laptops, video game consoles, and other TV-based gaming equipment

  • Identifying how energy use of gaming equipment varies by game played

  • Retrofitting gaming PCs to achieve energy savings

  • Devising and deploying web-based energy reporting for user feedback

  • Characterizing the market for gaming equipment and estimating the macro-level energy use and savings potential in California

The results (see poster) help component and integrated system manufacturers, as well as game developers, bring more efficient offerings to the market. Improved consumer information will better equip gamers to make optimal equipment selections more effectively utilize software and firmware strategies. More ...