There’s a new software update coming soon to all Xbox consoles that, in theory, will attempt to reduce carbon emissions by cleverly prioritising updates at times when the main source of electricity comes from lower-carbon sources on the electric grid.
That’s the gist of it, and mirrors last year’s Windows update that offered the same carbon-aware features albeit on Windows 11 PCs. The operation is quite simple, really, though only works in areas where regional carbon-intensity data and alternative low-carbon fuel sources are available. When plugged into the Internet, your Xbox utilises this information and schedules game, app, and OS updates accordingly.
Additionally, once the update goes live, all Xbox Series X|S consoles will automatically revert to an energy-saving/shutdown power option, which the company claims will cut power use by up to 20 times when compared to being in sleep mode. Not to worry, this won’t affect performance, gameplay and your console’s ability to receive overnight updates, as it will schedule to awaken between the graveyard shifts of 2:00AM to 6:00AM.
One small caveat, while remote features are supported when the console is powered on, sadly, remote wake is not supported while the console is shutdown. Luckily, you can schedule and adjust settings at any time, choosing works best for you.
Team Xbox says “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; actual energy savings and avoided emissions may vary by console and other factors.”
The new features and power mode options should already be live, while other countries can expect it later in the day. Finally, the Xbox team is currently working on multiple message options to inform console users of the change, and hopefully will include a feedback options so that players may share their experience.