Power Companies Hate Wii

Wii Hardware

Earlier we brought you news that the PS3 would, at full-tilt, be sucking down a rather impressive 380 watts of power. After doing a little testing over the weekend with a Kill-A-Watt power usage monitor I can happily say that the Wii is a lot more thrifty, but not exactly a lightweight compared to the competition.

When turned “off,” the Wii draws a rather hefty 8 watts, about 4X the amount DX Gaming determined the PS2 and Xbox 360 draw when sitting there powered down. According to their calculations, that would mean the Wii would cost about $10 a year just to leave off all the time. Not great. This power is being used to monitor for activity from the controllers (enabling the ability to turn on the console remotely) as well as enable those game and system updates that Nintendo will be pushing to your Wii even while it’s turned off.

However, more important is the consumption when actually doing something. First, when just browsing menus and not actually playing games, the Wii uses somewhere around 15-20 watts. This is comparable to the PS2’s “idle” usage though a far cry from the Xbox 360’s 145 drawn while displaying the dashboard.

Finally, when actually playing a game (I tested with Wii Sports and Zelda) the Wii was using an amazingly slim 17-20 watts, a good bit less than the Xbox 360’s 165 and a drop in the bucket compared to the PS3’s supposed 380 watts. Unfortunately we don’t have the exact breakdowns for the PS3 just yet, nor hands-on verification of that 380 watt report, but expect an update when we do.

UPDATE: nklnch at Digg sent me this link to a PS3 running Genji and showing a draw of 191 watts, a far cry from the 380 watts earlier reported by Sony themselves. Again, we’ll be posting a writeup like this for the PS3 soon.

UPDATE: Fixed Wii consumption figures


Freelance journalist and software architect based in Upstate NY. I write for a variety of different places (as you’ll see) -- maybe even for you if you ask nicely.


  1. Why did you put the updated 191 for one game instead of the 180 average usage? The average would be encountered for more than the one games figure.

  2. The other post seems a little odd to me when it comes to numbers. First they say “never went beyond 180 Watts on average.” That statement makes no sense; you can’t say something “never went beyond” an average of 180 unless it was spot on 180 the whole time. Then they say “Only under certain circumstance while playing Genji they measured a peak of 190 Watts” yet the picture shows 191 watts.

    Minor points? Yeah, absolutely, and I’m not saying I distrust it, but the most concrete thing I see there is that picture of the Kill-A-Watt (exact same thing used for these measurements) showing 191 watts, so that’s what I referenced here.

  3. The Wii has less variability in its power draw, which is actually desired by energy providers. Power companies love the Wii.

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