Cost & Carbon

Speed rules, but let's not go broke or melt the ice caps in the process, eh?
The cost to game -- both in $ and to the environment -- depends how you game and where you live.
Based on our numbers, a light gamer could use between 5 and 375 kWh/year depending on system choice, while the numbers for an extreme gamer would run from 37 to 1100 kWh/year.  This translates into costs as high as $2200 over 5 years and CO2 emissions as high as 2000 pounds each year if you live where electricity is expensive and your utility relies heavily on coal to make power.  The most intense system setups can use twice as much energy.

Here's a table with showing the ranges. Bottom line. Save energy: save money and save the earth and game another day.

Gamer and system type5-year energy cost at given electricity priceAnnual carbon dioxide emissions (lbs)
Electricity price ($/kWh)
Light GamerkWh/yPurchase cost$0.10$0.15$0.20$0.25$0.30$0.35$0.40*Cleanest US RegionUS AverageDirtiest US Region
Entry-level PC236$550$118$177$236$295$354$413$472106291448
Mid-range PC285$1,500$143$214$285$356$428$499$570128351541
High-end PC373$2,500$187$280$373$466$560$653$746167460708
PS4 Pro99$400$50$74$99$124$149$173$19844122188
Xbox One101$500$51$76$101$126$152$177$20245124192
Extreme Gamer
Entry-level PC521$550$261$391$521$651$782$912$1,042233642988
Mid-range PC897$1,500$449$673$897$1,121$1,346$1,570$1,79440211051702
High-end PC1101$2,500$551$826$1,101$1,376$1,652$1,927$2,20249313562089
PS4 Pro398$400$199$299$398$498$597$697$796178490755
Xbox One318$500$159$239$318$398$477$557$636142392603

*40 cents/kWh?!  Yeah, really. In many areas, electricity prices increase in a stairstep fashion as consumption rises.
Your gaming rig could put your bills over the top!