Most modern game consoles have some level of always-on functionality, allowing them to download critical game and software updates in the background. Microsoft is rolling out an Xbox update that aims to make always-on connectivity less expensive.
Microsoft announced in January that the Xbox would be the first “carbon aware” game console, which led to a brief media frenzy about Microsoft supposedly making its own game consoles worse in the name of saving the environment. Rest assured, your Xbox is not getting worse — in fact, you probably won’t tell a difference, and the update could even save you a bit of money on your power bill.
The new update improves the “Shutdown (energy saving)” mode on Xbox consoles, which already keeps your console powered off most of the time, and only spins back up to occasionally check for updates. If the console is connected to the internet and regional carbon intensity data is available, the Xbox will now schedule its wake-up times for when “a higher proportion of electricity is coming from lower-carbon sources on the electric grid.”
Microsoft says the new functionality should help reduce carbon emissions in power grids, and could reduce your power bill, depending on your location and where most of your power comes from. The blog post explains, “For every two consoles that switch to Shutdown (energy saving) for one year, we will save the equivalent amount of carbon removed by one tree planted and grown for a decade. This is based on an average of Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles on Shutdown (energy saving) for 20 hours per day for 1 year.”
The same update also introduces an option to hide game art when selecting tiles on the Home screen. You’ll also be able to control Xbox consoles from the Google Home app, much like smart TVs or Chromecasts, in addition to the Google Assistant commands that were already available.
Source: Xbox News