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Microsoft Update Will Make Xbox 'Carbon Aware' - Consoles Will Automatically Shut Down Based on 'Regional Carbon Intensity'

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Xbox has announced new changes to its system that will allow users to turn their console into a “carbon-aware” device by reducing their electricity consumption.

The Microsoft-owned company announced the update in a Jan. 11 press release.

In summary, the update will allow users to possibly save electricity in exchange for allowing the console to shut down completely instead of going into “sleep” mode.

Xbox will also schedule console updates for specific times during the night “when it can use the most renewable energy in your local energy grid,” thereby resulting in lower carbon emissions because there is less stress on the electric grid.

The company said that if two people use this feature and put their console on shutdown mode for 20 hours a day, every day for a year, it will be equal to planting a tree.

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On top of the possible climate benefits, the company said that using the shutdown setting can also decrease your monthly electricity bill by reducing the console’s power use “by up to 20X when it’s off compared to sleep.”

The energy-saving setting was previously already available to Xbox Insiders but the new update will open it up to all Xbox users.

They noted that a similar feature was introduced on their Windows 11 PCs in March 2022.

The new changes, which have already taken effect on certain Xbox consoles, were made in an effort to reduce the company’s “environmental impact to help us reach 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,” the announcement said.

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“The upcoming changes will create opportunities for our collective community of gamers to make choices to reduce environmental impact while gaming.”

However, many criticized the update as “woke” — including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas who wrote on Twitter: “First gas stoves, then your coffee, now they’re gunning for your Xbox.”

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Fox News host Jimmy Failla also suggested during a Tuesday segment that the company is trying to “recruit your kids into climate politics at an earlier age” by making them “climate-conscious,” as reported by The Independent.

He added that the level of emissions that will be offset by the new changes would be “infinitesimal.”

 

Others disagreed, noting that the update is optional and can be disabled in the console’s settings, and criticized the Republican leaders for overreacting.

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