EC end-of-level boss is too easy to beat

From 27 April 2015 (we’re migrating the best of our blog from

Grown adults playing video games is a fact of modern life, but for six years? That’s how long it’s taken Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to assemble the O’s and 1's of a joint voluntary agreement on energy efficiency standards, AKA a ticket to avoid meaningful regulation.

Since 2009 the console makers have been perfecting their origami skills to produce a paper tiger. Last week the European Commission approved the agreement on energy caps that are more, not less generous, than existing machines on the market. They cover things like playing music, films, and navigation from screen to screen, but avoid any actual gaming because there are no agreed standards. Manufacturers can walk away whenever they want. National authorities that are failing to vet fridges, TVs etc under the Ecodesign Directive are unlikely to inspect a voluntary agreement on consoles. No wonder energy experts from national governments participating in the talks walked away feeling they were wasting their time.

To give the manufacturers and EC staff some credit, this should end up saving a terawatt of energy each year and the firms have made some efforts to keep energy use down in the latest generation of consoles. Yet the US NRDC finds that today’s beefed-up machines are chewing through 2–3 times more energy than the last generation of machines. The IEA warned last year of $80bn of energy sucked up in inefficient connected stand-by from appliances like games consoles. Coolproducts feels we’d have been much better off regulating quickly, and starting to reap similar savings years ago. Six years of talks for a ‘business as usual agreement’. Enough said.

No doubt recognising the game is too easy for manufacturers, the Commission is producing guidelines to help beef up voluntary agreements (see here). But with these due to be released any minute, why declare game over for consoles? It’s clear the Commission staff didn’t play consoles as teenagers, or they would know that all the best games have end-of-level bosses that aren’t a push-over.

Read more at The Register.

ECODES having fun with a serious issue. Watch in French here.