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Is Xbox One really addressing the power issue?

3 min read

Xbox One power

I may be the only one, but I find navigating the Xbox One settings to be a strange, labyrinthine experience that helps me to understand the frustrations of an older generation. Nothing is where I expect it to be and I often end up opening things when I think I’m just hitting back. Even checking power savings can be tricky, but Xbox One has had a $250 million wake up call that it may be time to change that.

Both new consoles suck a ton of power down – way more than the older ones used to. We knew this would be the case; you can’t have a console that’s always kinda sorta online to get your updates and downloads without having power running through it. However, an updated study from the Natural Resources Defense Council found that the Xbox One was the biggest culprit – their senior scientist told Polygon that the Xbox One would be responsible for $250 million world of extra electricity every year. All that for “instant on”.

When setting up the console in the US, it used to always default to “Instant On” as compared to in the EU where it was required to default to energy saving. Now Xbox One claims to be putting the power back in gamer’s hands. Plus, they even go so far as saying that the average customer will save between $6-15 per year by changing their power options. They even cite changes to power saving that have already been put in place:

Since Xbox One launched, we’ve reduced the power consumed while in Instant-on by a third. At Microsoft, sustainability is core to our business practices—we continue to work to reduce the environmental impact of our products and services, and we are committed to carbon neutrality as a company.

So, setting up the Xbox One now shows off the various power modes, and users are encouraged to check their settings under Power & Start Up. I’m glad that Xbox is adding in this element – not everyone wants to have their Xbox One permanently on stand-by, especially with Eskom promising load shedding. Sure, it’s great to get all the updates without noticing so that you can just play when you turn on the console instead of watching a loading bar, but energy concerns affect everyone.

I’m also concerned by the calculations going on. Scientists say the Xbox One could cost the US an extra $250 million, but Xbox is saying it’s about $6-15 per person. Those numbers just don’t add up. Even if we took the highest number ($15), that would be 16 666 666 Xbox Ones in the US of A. We know that there aren’t that many sold worldwide, even. So, whose numbers are off, and by how much?

Last Updated: April 13, 2015

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