An Energy-focused Profile of the Video Gaming Marketplace

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Gaming is a major social and technological phenomenon, engaged in by a third to a half of humanity. The associated energy use has been understudied, and passed over in most energy policy and planning initiatives. This report reviews available energy-relevant information on the non-battery-powered video gaming market, including associated technology trends and gaps in the consumer information environment. We develop a profile of the California marketplace for the purposes of performing energy analysis. The resulting analytical platform is based on best-available data and industry expert opinions. Constituent data include an array of 25 individual gaming systems, operated by four user types across multi-step duty cycles, and running a representative assortment of game titles. This market segmentation spans the spectrum of gaming experience, system performance, and power requirements, and is leveraged to develop a characterization of the installed base of gaming equipment and its use. We find that there are currently more than 15 million video-gaming devices in use in California. While the absolute number is projected to decline somewhat in response to the increasing popularity of mobile gaming, the mix of platforms and their applications will shift towards increasingly energy-intensive configurations. This analysis also sheds light on significant energy efficiency improvements occurring in the marketplace and other drivers of energy demand. In subsequent phases of this project, the specified gaming systems will be bench-tested and the results used to generate aggregate baseline energy demand assessments for California and scenarios for the future.

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