Last March, Microsoft began rolling out a number of sustainability-focused updates to their hardware and software, such as more environmentally-friendly Windows 11 updates and using recycled plastics in the Xbox Series S. The Redmond company has now announced yet another new initiative for their Xbox consoles, which will see gamers get ‘carbon aware’ game downloads and updates, making the Xbox the first carbon aware console according to Microsoft.
Essentially, Microsoft is implementing tweaks to when your Xbox schedules game, app and OS updates so that it will only update and download stuff when the console will be using the most renewable energy possible, similar to what they did with Windows 11 last year. As an example, rather than needing your Xbox to wake from sleep at a random time between 2-6AM, it will instead wake from sleep when your local energy grid is using the most renewable energy as possible. Microsoft claims this will be able to decrease overall fossil fuel dependency and carbon dioxide emissions.
This feature will be called Shutdown (energy saving), and is currently already available to Xbox Insiders participants. However, Microsoft did add that they will be rolling it out to all Xbox gamers soon. This will come via a one-time update that is already being made available to more and more users. This update will tweak your power settings too, reducing power consumption when it’s not in use only; this means that it should not affect performance and gameplay when you’re using it. It will also affect remote wake while it’s shutdown, but Microsoft adds that you can adjust your settings at any time.
According to Microsoft, this new Shutdown (energy saving) will be able to cut power usage by up to 20 times compared to when your Xbox is just set to Sleep. They say that for every two consoles that use Shutdown (energy saving), gamers can collectively remove enough carbon equivalent to planting a new tree.
Microsoft is also rolling out another energy setting update called ‘Active hours’, which will affect those who prefer to use the regular Sleep power option instead. Active hours allows you to adjust your Xbox’s active hours and boot faster during the selected active time frame. When it’s out of its determined active hours though, your Xbox will fully shut down instead, using up to 14.5W less as compared to when it’s active. This feature is rolling out to Xbox Insiders for now, but we can expect them to make its full release later this year.
Now while Xbox consoles are not technically available in Malaysia in any official capacity, you can still find them on sale in Malaysia. And if you are one of the few who do have an Xbox at home, here’s how you can help Microsoft in their efforts to reduce gaming’s impact on the environment.
We know it takes a team to make a substantial impact, so here's how you can contribute! pic.twitter.com/LTzizmWiEP— Xbox (@Xbox) January 11, 2023
For starters, you can choose to turn settings in your Xbox that will help both you and your console save energy. The simplest move here is to simply choose that new Shutdown (energy saving) power option once it’s made available to you. Prior to that, you can also go to Settings, head to General and enter Power options to find more options there to conserve power and enable carbon aware updates on your Xbox. You can turn on automatic updates too to get the Shutdown (energy saving) option as soon as it’s rolled out to the general public.
Lastly, Microsoft adds that you can simply shutdown sooner rather than later once you’re done playing. All you need to do is choose a shorter duration for your Xbox to turn off when it’s inactive. This can help to reduce the standby time of the Xbox where it’s on without any use. The default settings has this at one hour, but you can lower it in Power Options too.