FAQ

Which companies are Signatories to the Voluntary Agreement?

  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Nintendo
  • Sony Interactive Entertainment

What is the Game Console Voluntary Agreement?

The Game Console Voluntary Agreement was drafted by the game console industry as a voluntary commitment to further improve the energy efficiency of game consoles. It was discussed and produced in consultation with the European Commission and input from various EU stakeholders, including Members States and NGOs. It provides a more effective alternative to mandatory legislation.

The European Commission formally recognized this Voluntary Agreement on April 22nd, 2015.

This document, signed by all manufacturers of the current generation of mains-connected game consoles, 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 game console industry to proactively develop integral and innovative energy solutions that allow for 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 efficiency of game 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 Game Consoles under the Voluntary Agreement appLy?

Tier 1 applies from 1st January 2016. Tier 2 will apply from 1st January 2017.

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

A game console is a computing device whose primary function is to play video games. Game 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). The game consoles operational modes are Media Play, Navigation and Standby.

Products falling in 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.

Not included in the scope of this Voluntary Agreement are:

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

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

The Voluntary Agreement sets out a detailed list of commitments to further improve energy efficiency of game consoles, including power caps and other environmental goals, to which Signatories must adhere when placing game consoles on the European market. The energy savings are realized through power limits for navigation and media play modes and implementation of a power management system which automatically powers down the 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 include energy and non-energy related information in the user instructions.

How is the Game Console Voluntary Agreement run and how will it be supervised?

The Voluntary Agreement is governed by the Steering Committee, which consists of the three game console manufacturers (i.e. the Signatories) and the European Commission. The Commission supervises implementation of the Voluntary Agreement and an Independent Inspector gathers data from each company and verifies compliance with their 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 happens in case of non-compliance?

A Signatory shall be considered to be non-compliant with the Voluntary Agreement if either of the following applies:

This document, signed by all manufacturers of the current generation of mains-connected game consoles, 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 game console industry to proactively develop integral and innovative energy solutions that allow for evolution of gaming technology without degrading the level of play.

  • The Signatory has not provided a completed Product Compliance Report for any game console covered by the Voluntary Agreement placed on the EU market during the relevant compliance period by 28 February;
  • The Signatory has provided a completed Product Compliance Report which indicates that more than 10% of the game consoles covered by the Voluntary Agreement that it has placed on the EU market during the applicable Reporting Period do not comply with the power  caps.

The Independent Inspector will contact any Signatory which is considered to be non-compliant by 15 April of each 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, to resolve the cause of non-compliance. A Signatory who remains non-compliant by 28 February of the following year shall forfeit its status as a Signatory of the Voluntary Agreement. Such event would be recorded in the Steering Committee meeting minutes and made public via this website. The Independent Inspector may also be instructed to conduct periodic product testing and auditing, if required by the European Commission, to verify each signatory’s compliance with the VA requirements.