You’ll Never Guess Why Sony Kept the PS4’s Power Consumption Under 250 Watt

Few things are more fascinating than hearing what the engineers that gave birth to a console have to say about the ins and outs of its design, as you’ll often learn how choices that are apparently disjointed are instead deeply connected in ways that you’ll never imagine. Many of those design decisions were taken for the PS4, but one is particularly intriguing, as Sony Computer Entertainment¬†Engineering Director Yasuhiro Ootori explained during a technical lecture¬†at the¬†INTERNEPCON Japan trade show in Tokyo.

Sony’s engineers were instructed to keep the PS4’s power consumption strictly under 250 watt, and Ootori-san stressed on the importance of that choice. You’d think it was taken to limit the generation of heat, or maybe to simply help us save on our energy bills, but that’s not the primary reason.

Ootori-san explained that 250 watt is the upper limit, by safety regulations, that allows the use of a two prong power cord. By using 250 watt or more the PS4 would have required a three prong power cord, and of course a three pin power inlet on the back of the console. That kind of connector is larger, and would have negatively impacted the miniaturization of the unit.

That’s why Sony put its best designers at work on making the console as power-efficient as possible in order to keep consumption under 250 watt.

At the bottom of the post you can see a picture of the PS4’s power source without its shell (courtesy of Ifixit), and you can indeed notice that the power inlet is very small, contributing to saving precious space.

If you want to check out the rest of the information from Ootori-san’s lecture, you can read our previous report with all the juicy details.

PS4 Power source 2


Join the Discussion

  • Terramax

    I think a picture of a typical 3 prong to compare with would’ve been nice. It doesn’t surprise me that this is primary reason. It ultimately boils down to ‘less money’.

    • Jeremy

      3 prong = external power brick ..boils down to design

      • Dan Harvey

        3 prong external power brick. The fat PS3 had a 3 prong, and had no external power brick.

  • RealityCheck2013

    As long as it works & never dies i don’t care what they do LoL:D So far my PS4 is o.k + all my past PlayStation’s have worked o.k & are all still working to this day(apart from my 60GB PS3 which got YLOD & i hope i never get anything like that again then i will be happy)

  • Yisa Yussuf

    I can’t begin to imagine Microsoft were as conscientious whilst designing their ‘box’

    • J.j. Barrington

      That’s because they weren’t.

    • Flyte_79

      Design? Xbox one? Um.. The designers of xbox left Microsoft, the one was designed by accountants, that’s why its such a complete mess. I think the word “design” is far too generous to use around Microsoft’s catalogue of failures…

      • Batman

        I had to sign in just to down vote such a fanboy’ish comment. Thanks for making me do all that work.

        • Yannick Lapointe

          thats still a lot of work only for being butthurted

          • matt

            U fanboys are not gamers your posers

          • Yannick Lapointe

            Meanwhile i will keep playing my ps4/ps3, my pc, my 3ds and my psvita.

    • Steven Solidarios

      All they did was gut a magnavox vhs cassette player, put in xbox 3 stuff and comcast cable tuner……called it a day.

    • Mo

      They stuck to what they know and built a cheap PC. IMHO, MS has never produced a REAL console, just attempts at passing off PCs as consoles.

  • islan

    Not to mention that it makes it compatible with PS3 and PS2 cables, right?

    • benbenkr

      …but not compatible with PS3 and PS2 games. LOL!!

      • islan

        Well that had nothing to do with the topic at hand.

        • benbenkr

          I’m kidding. Lighten up.

    • jaco

      Only the ps3 slim. The fat ps3 uses the 3 cord.

    • Big_EZ

      Although I don’t hook my PS3 up that much, it’s nice being able to just unplug one and plug in the other. I don’t currently have enough room for both, so this makes it a lot more convenient.

  • Manoj Varughese

    my 2007 PS3 still kicks butt…can’t wait till I get my hands on PS4 in a month…

  • Nintendo Fan 4 Lif3

    I understand their reason, but yeah I actually didn’t know that watt usage actually impacted the type or prong a plug uses.

  • Jewy McJew

    I hope the power consumption is low enough so that in 4 years (at 14nm), we can have a portable PS4 with 6 hours of battery life.

    • theodor70941

      Dream on kid… Never gonna happen and even if it does then it’s going to be powered by the cloud!

  • Cahone

    15 watt Wii U LOL!!! + 50 watt gamepad +50 watt external HD.

    • hakesterman

      I heard the Wii U prossessor is so demanding that it requires a massive 5 Watts during game play.

  • Cahone

    Wii U uses only 1 prong. The other prong is used to ram up your ass.

    • og_dinkis

      Lmao. That was one of the funniest things I read all day. Thanks

  • dirkradke

    I do find it fascinating, but a 2-prong vs. 3-prong outlet is hardly a game changer and I don’t see how it really changes making the PS4 smaller. Personally, whether necessary or not I would prefer the third prong (ground) even if it isn’t really needed except to comply with safety laws. At this point I don’t own a PS4 so I don’t know how much metal it really has for the third to ground electricity. By the way, people who understand electricity will understand that last sentence.

    • Giuseppe Nelva

      the three prong connector is quite a lot bigger.

      • dirkradke

        Not so much bigger from what I can tell just by looking at a 3-prong plug. I would rather it be as safe as possible than just a wee-bit smaller.

        • Dan Harvey

          It is a hell of a lot bigger. It’s not just the connection point between the plug and socket. The actual internal workings are much bigger. If you take a fat PS3 apart you will see that the 3-point connector is practically the same height as the console. With the PS4 being nowhere near that thick, it would have required a complete redesign which would have cost too much money.

      • DMPrince

        Well, duh

      • Bocefus Lamar Kouame

        Who gives a fuk, you goddamn foreigner.

    • Mo

      The reason 2-prong means its safer than 3 prong is that it uses less power. The neutral prong IS just as good as ground. The 3rd prong is additional grounding for higher power consumption.

      Having a 400 Watt PSU with 3-prongs IS NOT SAFER than a 200Watt PSU with 2 prongs. That’s ass backawrds.

  • Joseph Lan

    This is a prime example of Sony’s decades-long expertise as a hardware company.

  • Dirty Sanchez

    So red line of death anyone

    • You are flat out wrong

      Whatever happened to that? Oh wait, it was Xdrone FUD. Never mind.

      How’s your disc grinder?

  • Sal KNightRO

    PS4 uses a Flux Capacitor to sink heat. Whereas the XBone uses a Heat sink with copper pipes(facepalm)……go back to PC’s MS.

  • Russell Gorall

    Interesting piece, thanks.

  • hakesterman

    I personally like the design of the XB1 better, and that is why i bought it, along with the fact that it has great AAA titles day one unlike PS4.

    • J_Cob


      • hakesterman

        LMOL at PS4 Bots.

        • Revenge of Anonymous


    • You are flat out wrong



      Also, you forgot to put XB1M13 in your post.

    • Mo

      Do you like about the XBox? The noise or the bulk or the excessively high power consumption or the extremely long boot up time?

  • ariessiren

    the ps4 is so brilliantly designed its amazing. the Xbox one looks awful in comparison.

  • PatcherStation

    Most people don’t like the Xbox power brick, but having the power unit out of the console is a better idea than having it inside. Easy to replace and less heat inside the console. Power bricks can be a pain due to the size and getting them behind units or whatever. Power boards in consoles have never been a good idea. Back in the day, both the Saturn and PS came with power boards that didn’t last long, more so with the Saturn. But PS consoles have always come with not too reliable power boards. Can’t say I’ve ever had any power problems with Nintendo consoles. As for the One design, it’s laughable that was a final design.

    • Mo

      Who wants a huge power brick that consume 400W just so we can watch Netflix while the hard drive spinning noise forces everyone to turn up the volume, just to watch TV?

      Nobody. Everyone is forced to since that’s how they’re made.

  • PrinceHeir

    nice info!

  • easyDreezy


  • THU31

    It would seem they took it a bit too seriously, considering it draws under 150 W.