Holding Nintendo Switch LiteSource: Nintendo

What you need to know

  • NerdWallet conducted a study last month to determine the energy and lifetime costs of the last three generations of consoles.
  • The Nintendo Switch was revealed to be the most eco-friendly and cost-effective console of the current generation.
  • The Nintendo Wii U ended up being the most energy-effective, and the Nintendo Wii was the most cost-effective console.

In a study conducted by NerdWallet, it seems that those who seek to save money on both consoles and the energy they should produce should look for a Nintendo Switch this generation. NerdWallet's study ran from December 2020 to January 2021, and sought to determine the economic and ecological impact of consoles from the top three manufacturers — Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft. Using various sources, they determined the average number of games purchased, the average cost of peripherals and memberships, and how much power each console required while active and in standby mode. The combination of these statistical data points determined the "Lifetime Cost" of each console studied. In this study, a console's "lifetime" was calculated as the average time a consumer actively used their console, provided that said consumer purchased their console one year after its release.

VPN Deals: Lifetime license for $16, monthly plans at $1 & more

The study examined the lifetime energy costs of each Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft console across the last three console generations.

Console Manufacturer Lifetime Energy Cost (USD)
Xbox 360 Microsoft $257.08
Playstation 3 Sony $228.42
Nintendo Wii Nintendo $117.32
Xbox One Microsoft $362.02
Playstation 4 Sony $291.35
Nintendo Wii U Nintendo $40.48
Xbox Series S/X Microsoft $281.94
Playstation 5 Sony $233.41
Nintendo Switch Nintendo $142.81

The table shows that Microsoft's consoles consume the most energy across the console's lifetime, while Nintendo's consoles consume the least amount of energy. This makes the Nintendo Switch a particularly good choice for consumers who wish to reduce their energy consumption in 2021. For those looking to play retro games, the Wii U would also be a great choice, with an astoundingly low energy footprint.

As for total costs across a console's lifetime, the Nintendo Switch still costs a lot less than the current market competition. The study ranked consoles from the last three generations, from most to least expensive.

Rank Console Manufacturer Lifetime Cost (USD)
1 Playstation 5 (Disc) Sony $2,419.42
2 Xbox Series X Microsoft $2,317.46
3 Playstation 5 (Digital) Sony $2,292.67
4 Xbox One Microsoft $2,103.46
5 Xbox Series S Microsoft $2,035.90
6 Playstation 4 Sony $1,935.84
7 Playstation 3 Sony $1,772.56
8 Xbox 360 Microsoft $1,715.82
9 Nintendo Switch Nintendo $1,239.47
10 Nintendo Wii U Nintendo $1,014.57
11 Nintendo Wii Nintendo $910.26

Within the current generation, the Nintendo Switch comes out on top again as most cost-effective in terms of lifetime costs. The console, despite its heavy-hitting competition, has been selling extremely well, no doubt due to its great selection of games.

Versatile Gaming

Eshop Nintendo Card

Nintendo Switch eShop Gift Card

Gaming on-the-go or at home

There's a reason the Nintendo Switch has been one of the most popular consoles over the past two years. Its sleek design, versatility and seemingly endless pool of thrilling games make it a great choice for gamers of all ages.

Get More Switch

Nintendo Switch

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.