Microsoft has often touted its efforts towards environmental sustainability in the world of tech. The company aims to become carbon negative by 2030, and it has shared multiple milestones in pursuit of this goal over the past few years. In 2021, the Cloud for Sustainability platform was launched to offer actionable insights on carbon emissions, while just last year, the tech giant unveiled a dedicated section in Windows 11 to help make PCs more energy-efficient.
Today, Microsoft has announced that Xbox has become the first carbon aware console - which essentially means that scheduling for updates and downloads for all variants of the console will be optimized in such a way that their carbon footprint can be reduced.
In more detail, when a user's Xbox is connected to the internet and regional carbon intensity data is available too, all updates and downloads will be scheduled in periods where the most renewable energy sources can be utilized, as opposed to the prior "random" wakeup between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
For this to be accessed though, the energy settings on the Xbox will first need to be set to the 'Shutdown (energy saving)' power setting - something which will happen automatically for Insiders who have the option available right now on Series X | S. Without it adversely affecting any other standard performance or gameplay offering for the console, the power saving setting will cut power by up to 20x versus when the console is just put to sleep. Notably, remote wakeup will not be supported while this option is enabled.
Xbox One owners will also be receiving this update on their consoles soon, with the most significant difference as opposed to the current gen consoles being that slower boot times will be experienced if the aforementioned energy setting is selected.
For comparison on what kind of difference the utilization of this feature would make, Microsoft has stated that for every two consoles that are leveraging the new setting for one year (for around 20 hours per day), the equivalent amount of carbon removed by 1 tree planted and grown for a decade will be saved. The update that will bring these new feature to users is rolling out to Xbox Insiders today, while the general community will have to wait for a while longer.