Do you know what I hate besides injustice, war and broccoli? Game Updates. As a time-starved gamer, sometimes it seems like my Xbox Series X is trapped: When I manage to get a few spare minutes to get in and kill space monsters, there’s a multi-gigabyte update that I have to download before I can play. I would leave my Xbox on standby overnight, but UK energy bills being what they are, even a small download has a heavy energy footprint. And when it comes to game updates, downloads are rarely small.
So I’m glad to find that Microsoft has improved the Xbox Energy Saver mode to make downloading all those updates much cheaper. 20% cheaper, in fact.
More fun for less money
Write on the official xbox blog (opens in a new tab)Microsoft’s Dave McCarthy explains, “Energy Saver mode consumes about 20 times less power than Standby mode when the console is not in use or not receiving updates. Now system and game updates can be downloaded during Energy Saver Mode, saving more energy.
It’s part of a broader move by Microsoft to become a carbon-negative, water-positive, and zero-waste company by 2030. As part of this, all Xbox products, accessories, and packaging will be 100% recyclable, and the Xbox team will also work “tirelessly”. to reduce the environmental impact of gaming. As Microsoft itself admits, during the pandemic Xbox sales and usage have been partly responsible for an increase in emissions, an increase it wants to reverse .
Software updates can help with this. Energy Saver is now the default mode on new consoles instead of something you have to choose, and Microsoft is also looking at ways to reduce the environmental footprint of its Cloud Gaming service: by 2025, its Azure data centers will switch to 100% renewable energy. It’s even pushing environmental awareness in Minecraft and adding electric vehicles to Forza. Of course, virtual EVs aren’t any more environmentally friendly than virtual V8s, but by positioning them as exciting and desirable, such moves can help shift the dial towards more environmentally friendly transportation. And according to Microsoft, other environmental initiatives are coming.
If you haven’t turned on Power Saver yet, here’s how: On your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, go to Settings > Sleep & Startup Mode > Sleep Mode > Power Saver. I will do that as soon as I finish today.