What is the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement?

The Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement was drafted by the games consoles industry, in consultation with the European Commission and input from various EU stakeholders, including Members States and NGOs, as a voluntary commitment to further improve the energy efficiency of games consoles. It provides a more effective alternative to mandatory legislation. The European Commission formally recognized this Voluntary Agreement on 22 April 2015. On January 18, 2018, after an extensive review process, the Steering Committee agreed to adopt the revised version of the Agreement.

This agreement is flexible enough to adapt to new technologies in a timely manner and serve as a template for similar harmonized rules throughout the world. It enables the games consoles industry to proactively develop integral and innovative energy solutions that allow for the evolution of gaming technology without degrading the level of play.

What is its objective?

The objective of the Voluntary Agreement is to further improve the energy and resource efficiency of games consoles through improved design. It sets out the means by which the Signatories commit to achieving rapid and effective implementation of the requirements while continuing to invest in and develop innovative gaming experiences.

 

 

When do the Power Cap Requirements for Games Consoles under the Voluntary Agreement appLy?

  • Tier 2: As of 1 January 2016
  • Tier 3: As of 1 January 2017
  • Tier 4: As of 1 January 2019

How is a games console defined and what products are covered by the Voluntary Agreement?

A games console is a computing device whose primary function is to play video games. Games consoles share many of the hardware architecture features and components found in general personal computers (e.g., central processing unit(s), system memory, video architecture, optical drives and/or hard drives or other forms of internal memory). Games console operational modes include Media Play, Navigation and Standby.

Products falling within the scope of this Voluntary Agreement are those that:

  • Typically utilise either dedicated handheld or other interactive controllers designed for enhancing game playing (rather than the mouse and keyboard used by personal computers).
  • Are equipped with audio visual outputs for use with external televisions or video projectors as the primary display.
  • Typically use dedicated console operating systems (rather than using a conventional PC operating system).
  • May include other features such as optical disk player, digital video and picture viewing, digital music playback, etc.
  • Are mains powered devices that use more than 20 watts in active game mode with either internal or dedicated external power supply.

What products are not in the scope of this Voluntary Agreement?

  • Games software
  • Console peripherals and accessories that are battery powered.

What does the Voluntary Agreement commit the consoles industry to do?

The Voluntary Agreement sets out a detailed list of commitments that require Signatories to further improve the energy efficiency of their games consoles, including power caps and other environmental goals, to which Signatories must adhere when placing games consoles on the European market. The energy savings are realized through power caps that apply to navigation and media play modes and implementation of a power management system, which automatically powers down a console when it is not in active use. The Voluntary Agreement also provides a standardized test methodology to ensure that console compliance can be uniformly determined. The Signatories are also obliged to meet various resource efficiency requirements and to provide energy and non-energy related information in the console operating instructions (on-screen, hardcopy or online).

The Voluntary Agreement requires the Signatories to periodically review it to keep it current with the latest technical and legal changes in the European Union.

How is the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement run and how will it be supervised?

The Voluntary Agreement is governed by the Steering Committee, which consists of the three games consoles manufacturers (i.e. the Signatories) and the European Commission. The Commission supervises the implementation of the Voluntary Agreement. An Independent Inspector tests all new console models placed on the market, gathers data from each company, and verifies compliance with the Signatories’ commitments under the Voluntary Agreement. A third party Administrator provides administrative support necessary for the effective running of the Voluntary Agreement. The Signatories and the Commission hold Steering Committee meetings twice yearly in order to:

  • Evaluate the Voluntary Agreement’s effectiveness in achieving its objectives; and
  • Discuss current and future developments that may influence console energy consumption with a view to agreeing to a course of action or revising the Voluntary Agreement.

What Constitutes Non-Compliance?

Non-compliance may occur in two cases:

  • The completed Product Compliance Report indicates that more than 10% of the game consoles placed on the EU market during the applicable Reporting Period do not comply with commitments as set out in the Voluntary Agreement.

What happens in case of non-compliance?

The Independent Inspector will contact any Signatory it deems non-compliant by 31 March of the following Reporting Period to seek to redress the cause of the non-compliance. Opportunities should be provided to discuss the circumstances of the case and, if possible, resolve the cause of non-compliance.

A Signatory’s repeated failure to submit its compliance documentation shall lead to its exclusion from the Voluntary Agreement.

A Signatory which remains non-compliant twelve months after the publication of the Independent Inspector’s Annual Compliance Report or relevant investigation report shall forfeit its status as a Signatory of the Voluntary Agreement.

The Steering Committee will be notified of such exclusion or forfeiture and the information will be made public on this website.