Sony today revealed a new feature of its in-development PlayStation console: a power-saving mode which will reduce the amount of energy used in each home. This is apparently an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the general population of gamers.
Jim Ryan, CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, spoke of the new feature in the context of the company’s pledge to a United Nations initiative. In speaking about Sony’s attempts to cut down on the power consumption of its consoles, Ryan gave a little hint on what the feature will mean for the upcoming console:
I am also very pleased to announce the next generation PlayStation console will include the possibility to suspend gameplay with much lower power consumption than PS4 (which we estimate can be achieved at around 0.5 W). If just one million users enable this feature, it would save equivalent to the average electricity use of 1,000 US homes.
Ryan also touted how Sony’d cut down on the PS4’s energy drain. In 2014, a report from the National Resources Defense Council concluded that the PS4 and Xbox One both draw massive amounts of power in standby — the PS4, 8.5 watts, and the Xbox One 15.7. Even if you don’t give a damn about energy efficiency, you have to admit going from 8.5 watts to 0.5 would a coup. (Interestingly, the report found the now-defunct Wii U only draws 0.4 watts. Who’d have thought?)
The Playing for the Planet alliance, as the UN initiative is called, aims to educate gaming’s youthful audience on the importance of sustainability and efficient use of energy. Ryan says of these goals: “We have committed to working with the industry and climate experts to develop reference information for use by game developers that wish to include sustainability themes in games. In addition, we will investigate potential PS VR applications that can raise awareness of climate issues and climate experts.”
Obviously this requires users to opt into the feature before it can do any good. We’d have to see the console and the potential benefits/drawbacks of the feature before we could accurately estimate how many users are likely to use it. So far, all we know about the PS5 is hardware-related. This is our first real hint about the software.
By the way, is anyone else getting the impression that the next-gen PlayStation console will not, in fact, be called the PS5? I mean, besides the fact that having the S and 5 next to each other looks a little wrong somehow. The fact that the company didn’t refer to it in this article as the “PlayStation 5” leads me to hope they’ve found a way out of the dry, numerical naming scheme. It definitely lends a bit of credence to the idea it’s actually going to be the “PlayStation V.”