by Blaine Hauglie, Technical Program Manager
Xbox is working to reduce our environmental impact to help us achieve Microsoft’s goal of being a carbon-negative, water-positive, and zero-waste company by 2030 by rethinking how we design, build, distribute, and use our products.
Last March, we shared a update on our sustainability efforts in hardware, software, waste reduction and collective action. We are constantly looking for ways to innovate, learn, and improve our metrics, as well as continue to collaborate with industry partners and game developers. We are not only responsible for the carbon emissions in the production and distribution of our products, but also for the emissions created by the use of our products in the homes of our fans. So how we design our hardware and software to be more efficient and optimized for renewable energy can have a big impact.
Today, we’re sharing updates that are rolling out to Xbox Insiders. The upcoming changes will create opportunities for our collective community of players to make decisions to reduce our environmental impact while playing.
Xbox is the first gaming console to offer carbon-conscious game downloads and updates
Being carbon conscious means reducing your carbon footprint by optimizing updates and downloads to run at a time when your console can use the most renewable energy. Windows Update became aware of carbon emissions last year for Windows 11 PCs, and now Xbox consoles are becoming aware too.
When your console is plugged in, connected to the Internet, and regional carbon intensity data is available, Xbox will schedule game, app, and operating system updates for your console at specific times during the nightly maintenance window that will result in lower carbon emissions. due to a higher proportion of electricity coming from low-carbon sources on the power grid. For example, instead of your Xbox activating during nightly maintenance at a random time between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., your console will activate at a time when you can use the most renewable energy into your local power grid. In this way, the dependence on fossil fuels and CO2 emissions will be reduced and you could save yourself a little money. While it’s only available to Xbox Insiders using Shutdown (power saving) at this time, all Xbox gamers will have the opportunity to upgrade very soon to make their Xbox carbon conscious.
Power settings that will help your Xbox save energy
Starting today, Xbox Insiders will notice that their Xbox Series X|S consoles will automatically update to the off (power saving) option. This one-time update to power settings will reduce power consumption while the console is turned off and will not affect performance, gameplay, or the ability of the console to receive nightly system, game, or application updates. Remote functions will be supported while the console is on; however, remote wake will not be supported while the console is powered off. Adjust your settings at any time, choose the option that best suits your needs. Power off (power saver) reduces power usage by up to 20 times when off compared to sleep mode.
As we continue to explore options for all gamers to reduce their environmental impact, Xbox One consoles will begin to see new power mode options, including power off (power saving) starting today. Xbox One consoles will test multiple messaging options to determine the best way to inform players of the change. This effort is to give Xbox One players the opportunity to provide feedback on their experience.
Power Off (power saving) will allow Xbox One consoles to receive system downloads, games, or apps overnight, just like Xbox Series X|S. With Off (power saving) selected, Xbox One consoles will experience a slower boot time. Remote functions will still be supported while the console is on.
We encourage all players to learn more about the available power configuration options. Every small step we take has a bigger collective impact, and choosing to shut down (save energy) can have a real and significant impact. For example, for every 2 consoles switched to Off (energy saving) over a year, we can save the equivalent amount of carbon removed by 1 tree planted and grown over a decade. This is based on an average of Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles turned Off (power saving) for 20 hours per day for 1 year; actual energy savings and avoided emissions may vary by console and other factors. Information created with the greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator | US EPA.
Improved sustainability with “Active Hours” and Sleep function
Another power settings update that will begin rolling out to Xbox Insiders starting today is the new “Active Hours” setting. For those who select the sleep power option, you will now be able to adjust the active hours of your console. Your Xbox will start up quickly and be available for remote activation during selected active hours. When your Xbox’s active hours are up for the day, it will turn off completely and consume 0.5W vs. 10-15W while active.
- Active hours for Xbox Series X|S will be automatically enabled and scheduled based on the hours the console was previously used.
- Xbox One consoles will have the option to set their active hours, which will default to “always active” unless changed.
How can you help
We can’t do all of this without your help. We must work in partnership with our players, developers, studios, and the industry if we want to help reduce the impact of gaming on the environment. We are committed to collaborating with our developers, partnering with organizations, and empowering players to make more informed decisions.
Here are some specific ways you can help:
- Choose settings that help you and your Xbox save power – Choose Off (power saving) as a power option on your Xbox. If you’re not Xbox Insiders and want to adjust your settings to get the best power saving option before the automatic update, go to Settings > General > Power Options. This will help you conserve energy and enable carbon-conscious upgrades to your Xbox.
- Become carbon conscious – Choose automatic updates. Once you’ve set your Xbox to get automatic updates and selected Off (power saver) as a power option, you’ll have a carbon-conscious Xbox.
- Faster shutdown when console is idle – Choose a shorter duration for your Xbox to turn off when idle. This will help reduce the amount of time your console will stay on when idle before turning off. By default, it is set to 1 hour, but you can choose a time period less than one hour, to adjust it, go to Settings > General > Power Options > Customize Power Options.
If you want to know more about what we are doing, visit xbox.com/sustainability
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Source: Press Release
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