Microsoft is rolling out three new features to Xbox Insiders that will try to reduce the environmental impact of its Series X|S consoles. Before the inclusion of these new features, Microsoft has dubbed its Xbox console “the first carbon-conscious console,” but if you can look past all that lofty marketing, the new features could be a way to reduce unnecessary power consumption from its console . consoles.
The first new feature is carbon-conscious game downloads and updates, which schedule console updates for when it can pull the most renewable energy from your local power grid.
“Xbox schedules game, app, and OS updates for your console at specific times during the nightly maintenance window, which may result in lower carbon emissions because a higher proportion of electricity comes from low-carbon sources on the power grid,” says Microsoft (opens in new tab).
The next feature is actually quite simple: Microsoft is changing it so that Xbox Insider’s consoles automatically switch to the Shutdown (power saving) power option. Leaving your console in standby mode will use up to 20 times more power than turning the console off completely (0.5W to about 10-15W, according to Microsoft). Standby is probably the preferred option for most gamers, meaning it could be the real power saver of the lot.
Last-gen Xbox One consoles are also getting a new Shutdown (power saving) power mode. Since there are about 50 million of those consoles out in the wild, many of which will probably still work, this is it could be be the feature most important for energy savings in general. On the other hand, Microsoft is still trying to figure out the best way to notify users of the change, and there’s no automatic shift to the new shutdown mode for the older model.
The console boot time will be slower with the new mode enabled, but that feels like a small price to pay for lower power consumption.
The hard work will be getting users to make the change in their settings menu, especially on the older console where users may be less aware of new features being added. It seems Microsoft is aware of the mammoth task of actually persuading Xbox One owners to make the switch. To try and convince users to take the plunge on the energy-saving setting, Microsoft says it will save the equivalent amount of carbon removed by one tree planted and grown for 10 years for every two consoles that switch to Shutdown. ).
Finally, Microsoft is adding an active hours feature for those console owners who absolutely need a fast boot time. During the listed active hours (automatically configured on X|S but manually set on Xbox One), the console will be available from standby as usual. Outside of these active hours, the console will shut down.
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These features are currently only available to Xbox Insiders, but Microsoft says the update will be rolled out to other users “soon”.
These features have already made their way to Windows PCs, if you’re looking for ways to reduce your desktop footprint. Windows 11 only updates when more sustainable energy is available (opens in new tab) in your local net, using data from Electricity card (opens in new tab) and WattTime (opens in new tab). These are likely the same services that power the Xbox X|S carbon-conscious updates.
Slot machines of all kinds are pretty power-hungry beasts, but no more than powerful PCs. It is important to mention that simply switching from sleep mode to shut down can go a long way in reducing the latent power consumption of your machine, which not only helps to save the planet but can also save you a small amount of money on your energy bill. to spare. Sure, it won’t be much from month to month, but over a lifetime of PC gaming it all adds up.