Epic’s game launcher is a battery hog on some platforms, especially Ice Lake

If you download and play games from the Epic Games Store on a laptop, you might want to keep in mind that your battery is getting drained faster than you might expect. Tests show that the battery drain from Epic’s launcher consumed up to 20 percent more battery life than Steam.

It is understandable when playing a game from a launcher like Steam’s or Epic’s, the resources required to keep the store app running will be more than if you just ran the game natively. But how much more do launchers need, especially when only running in the background?

The answer depends on what store app you are using. PC World ran some limited tests comparing the Epic Games Store (EGS) app to the Steam launcher. They used a Surface Pro 7+ with an 11th-gen Ice Lake processor and a Ryzen-based Surface Laptop 3.

On both platforms, running the Steam app in the background had little to no effect on battery life. Testers set a baseline of 603 minutes by draining the battery on the Surface Pro 7+ after a factory reset. Running the Steam launcher hidden in the taskbar lowered battery life to 587 minutes, an insignificant loss of 2.7 percent. Running EGS hidden dropped run time to 482 minutes. That is 20-percent decrease from a clean run and a 17-percent deficit versus Steam.

On the Ryzen laptop, the differences were less pronounced but still noticeable, especially between the two stores. A clean run depleted the battery in 472 minutes. Steam running hidden was had no effect on run time. Epic’s launcher, however, lowered battery life to 434 minutes, an eight-percent drop. Clearly, both apps ran more efficiently on the laptop than the tablet, but EGS was still the energy hog.

When contacted about the issue, Epic said it was constantly improving its app’s energy efficiency.

“In general, we are actively working to improve the performance and reduce the power consumption of our launcher. The power consumption varies based on whether the launcher’s window is open.”

Indeed, running with the EGS app active on the Ice Lake platform reduced battery life slightly more than when hidden (449 vs 482). However, it appears that just having the EGS app installed even when not signed in had a marked effect, dropping run time to 514 minutes, which is marginally better than the test with it running in the taskbar but still about 12.5 percent less efficient than Steam.

It’s important to note that although PC World ran the tests multiple times to prove consistency, It only used two OEM platforms. Mileage will vary depending on hardware configuration and other factors. Just be aware that if you use Epic’s launcher, you are likely consuming more battery than is necessary.