HISTORY OF THE VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT

2009 – As part of the EU's Eco-design regulatory process (under EU Directive 2009/125/EC), the European Commission commenced a review of the potential for improving the energy efficiency of games consoles and initiated a preparatory study (ENTR Lot 3: Sound and Imaging Equipment) to investigate the energy efficiency of games consoles, alongside other sound and imaging devices.

2010 – The Commission’s preparatory study included a Voluntary Agreement (VA) as a possible policy option and the Commission agreed to consider this approach provided it could meet the ambitions of the Eco-design Directive. Following consultations with stakeholders and policy makers, the game console industry commenced work on formulating the VA and preparing it for Commission review.

2012 – The first draft of the Voluntary Agreement was tabled for review and discussion during a Commission Consultation Forum meeting in November, which included representatives from the Commission, Member States, and Non-governmental organisations.

2013 – A manufacturer from the games consoles industry completed its own comprehensive analytical study on the potential energy savings the Voluntary Agreement would secure. The study’s conclusions highlighted that the VA had the potential to save up to 1 TWh per year by 2020. While recognising that the energy savings were in line with the Eco-design Directive’s aims, the Commission requested the industry to add further commitments on material efficiency and the draft VA was revised to include these commitments. The draft VA was subject to internal review by the Commission's Impact Assessment Board, which issued a favourable opinion in March.

2014 – Games consoles manufacturers amended the Voluntary Agreement to take into account the Commission's revised draft guidelines on self-regulation measures and to address comments received during the Consultation Forum meeting and subsequent comments from the Commission.

2015 – On April 22, the Commission formally approved the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement v1.0. The Commission’s decision confirmed that the VA would achieve the policy objectives set out by the EU's Eco-design Directive more quickly and cost-effectively than mandatory requirements. The first Steering Committee meeting was held in Brussels in December.

2016 – Games consoles manufacturers began implementing the product reporting requirements of the Voluntary Agreement. Minor, clarifying amendments (e.g. grammatical and formating mistakes, clarification of some data collection procedures) were made to the VA in response to comments received at the June Steering Committee meeting from stakeholders and the Independent Inspector. Therefore, a revised version of the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement was approved by the Commission.

2017 - A technical review procedure of the Voluntary Agreement took place in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the VA in achieving its energy efficiency objectives, evaluate current and future developments that may influence games consoles power consumption and set future targets, as appropriate, to increase games consoles energy efficiency. Moreover, the VA was aligned to the final Commission guidelines for self-regulation measures. The Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement v2.5 was presented at the November Consultation Forum meeting.