Xbox’s “carbon aware” energy saving features now available to everyone

Xbox’s new “carbon aware” energy saving feature – which launched for Insider testing last month – is now available to everyone as part of the console’s February update.

Essentially, Xbox’s new energy saving feature allows a console – provided it’s connected to the internet and has access to regional carbon intensity data – to schedule game, app, and OS updates at time a higher proportion of electricity is coming from lower-carbon sources on the electric grid. Microsoft says this decreases fossil fuel dependency and CO2 emissions and could potentially saves users money.

Additionally, Microsoft once again highlights Xbox’s Shutdown (energy saving) mode in its February update blog post, claiming it cuts power use by up to 20x compared to the Sleep power option. Shutdown mode was enabled automatically during recent Insider testing, but it’s not clear whether this is the case for general release.

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Either way, Microsoft claims that for every two consoles that switch to Shutdown mode and use it for 20 hours each day over the course of a year, it’ll save the carbon equivalent of one tree planted and grown for a decade.

Away from energy saving features, Xbox’s February update gives user the option to hide game art – which it acknowledges some find “distracting” – when selecting tiles on Home. It also makes it possible to use the Google Home app as a touch remote control for an Xbox console.

Finally, Microsoft says a random selection of users will also be given access to an experimental feature designed to make it easier to jump back into a party with your friends by providing a list of previous parties that can restarted if desired.

All this launches today as part of Xbox’s February update.

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