Microsoft has announced that its contemporary Xbox consoles will all soon be "carbon aware," helping substantially reduce the platform's overall carbon footprint. Over the past couple of years, energy efficiency has been becoming a more and more important consideration for the gaming industry, and Microsoft has now ensured that its own video game platform will help decrease fossil fuel dependency and CO2 emissions.
Xbox consoles - much like any other gaming device - are a relatively frivolous energy expenditure compared to light and heating, and Microsoft has made a marked effort to improve its platform's sustainability over a long period of time. The company's latest report, specifically, sets the stage for it to become a "carbon negative, water positive, and zero waste" enterprise by 2030, and rethinking certain aspects of its gaming consoles is a crucial aspect of this pivot.
Since the environmental impact of game consoles is a non-trivial matter, the fact that Microsoft is looking to revamp Xbox devices to make them more energy efficient is good news indeed. By making Xbox consoles "carbon aware," Microsoft is looking to perfectly optimize their content download scheduling so that they use the least amount of power possible, thereby reducing their overall carbon footprint. Moving forward, Xbox Insiders that use Xbox Series' consoles "Shutdown" feature will have access to this functionality, improving power consumption while the devices are turned off.
Sitting in stark contrast to Xbox Series X's energetically problematic Instant On feature, the new energy-saving Shutdown option should eventually make its way to all Xbox Series users worldwide. It's particularly noteworthy that Xbox One consoles aren't being left out of this new feature, with the option soon becoming available to those sticking with the older device, too. According to Microsoft, using the "Shutdown (energy saving)" option on two Xbox consoles for one full year is equivalent to the amount of carbon removed by one tree that's been growing for a decade.
This improvement, of course, isn't sitting in a vacuum. Microsoft has been rather mindful of its energy efficacy for some time now, and some of the first updates for the Xbox power usage screen dropped in 2022. Since device updates are often coming in rather often, optimizing the delivery of this content is only getting more important as time goes on, and carbon-aware functionality should assist in this respect.
In fact, while Microsoft never properly pursued a handheld gaming console, it's not impossible that something of the type could be coming down the line since these devices are often far more energy efficient than their home console equivalents. The Steam Deck, for one, maxes out at a relatively meager 15W of energy expenditure, which is a very far cry from modern desktop graphics cards.
Related Forum: Xbox Forum